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Posted at: Dec 7, 2017, 2:01 AM; last updated: Dec 7, 2017, 2:01 AM (IST)

Many child abuse cases go unreported: Dr Waraich

Many child abuse cases go unreported: Dr Waraich
(From left) Chandigarh University VC RS Bawa, DPI (Schools, UT) Rubinderjit Singh Brar and psychiatrist Dr BK Waraich at the Principals’ Meet in Chandigarh on Wednesday. PHOTO: RAVI KUMAR

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 6

“Many cases of child abuse are not reported because adolescents lack understanding of the incident. They either want to protect the offender or feel guilty or lack the words to express,” said Dr BK Waraich, a psychiatrist.

“Abuse can be physical, emotional and sexual,” she said. She said according to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007, over 50 per cent children across 13 states were subjected to physical and sexual abuse.

“A large percentage of cases are incest and abuse by relatives which can scar a child for life,” she said. Dr Waraich said contrary to popular perception, more males were subjected to abuse. However, with the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) being enforced, more cases were being reported as compared to earlier.

She said, “In India, such issues are brushed under the carpet. Even parents are reluctant since it is a topic of contention. Abroad, it is common to have a one trained psychologist to discuss sexual abuse at schools.”

“Parents can use certain methods to talk to children such as teaching the ‘swimming costume’ rule, asking them that no one must touch them inappropriately and without consent, teaching them to say ‘no’ and explain them the difference between a good secret and an undesirable secret,” she said, adding that it was crucial to use the ‘right’ words.

“If a teen is addicted to pornography websites, the response of parents should be to devise ways of controlling internet usage and not punishment.” she said.

The parents can discuss specific examples of child abuse with children when they are brought out in the Press. Certain informative websites such as kidshealth.org can be educational for children, she said.

Emphasising the need for a more open discussion on such issues, she said counsellors in schools should intervene if they notice a child exhibits the signs of anxiety. “Counsellors should be calm, non-judgmental and friendly but firm,” she said.

With children as young as seven to eight years, using mobile phones, she said parents should set some ground rules for the internet activity for teenagers. “Some rules could be regarding the time limitation, not uploading pictures on a public platform and advising students against interacting with strangers online. Parents could use a password to restrict unlimited access to Wi-fii,” she said.

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