Rajasthan: Comprehensive Initiative to Prevent Sexual Crimes Against Children in Schools

The Education Department is all set to launch "Safe Schools and Safe Rajasthan Campaign" from Aug 26 to educate children about Good Touch and Bad Touch.
Counselors advocate teaching children to recognize good and bad touch
Counselors advocate teaching children to recognize good and bad touchSymbolic Pic-Rajkumar Jain

Udaipur- In a proactive move to address the alarming rise in incidents of sexual misconduct involving children, the Department of School Education in Rajasthan has introduced the "Safe Schools and Safe Rajasthan Campaign." The campaign is designed to impart awareness about the concept of "Good Touch and Bad Touch" among students across the state.

According to recent reports, the nation has witnessed a distressing number of cases involving child sexual abuse, prompting educational authorities to take action. From 2019 to June 2022, a staggering 7,595 children in India were reported as victims of sexual abuse. Rajasthan, like other regions, has had its share of such incidents, even involving educators and school administrators. To tackle this issue head-on, the state has embarked on a mission to educate its young population about personal boundaries and safety.

The campaign, slated to begin on August 26, will see the participation of 3,858 government schools in Rajasthan, including those in Udaipur. Under the leadership of institution heads from primary, upper primary, higher secondary government schools, as well as institutions like Mahatma Gandhi English Medium School, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Residential School, and Swami Vivekananda Model School, students will be engaged in a series of sessions focused on "Good Touch and Bad Touch."

The overarching initiative encompasses a three-phase approach. The initial phase will involve intensive awareness activities that shed light on appropriate and inappropriate physical interactions. This phase will be conducted on August 26, coinciding with the "No Bag Day" initiative in government schools. Following this, reinforcement sessions will be held in October and January, ensuring that the message remains ingrained in the minds of the students.

Expert 'Master Trainers' to Lead Implementation of Awareness Campaign

To ensure the smooth execution of the campaign, around 1,200 "master trainers" who have received specialized training at the state level will be appointed as trainers at the district level. These trainers, carefully selected from various government schools, will facilitate the delivery of the program during the "No Bag Day" on August 26.

To monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign, the Department of School Education has assigned a dedicated officer to each of the state's 50 districts. These officers will conduct comprehensive assessments by visiting schools and examining the campaign's implementation. Their findings will be reported to central authorities to shape future actions.

Education Secretary Naveen Jain has issued comprehensive guidelines to schools across the state, emphasizing the importance of strict compliance with the campaign's objectives. District Education Officers have been instructed to address any lapses promptly and in accordance with established protocols.

Teaching the 'Swimsuit Rule' to Protect Children from Inappropriate Touch

Family relationship expert and a seasoned counselor in Udaipur, Dr Gaytri Tiwari emphasizes the importance of educating children about different types of touches in a way that empowers them to protect their own bodies and feelings. She suggests that parents and caregivers can begin by discussing the concept of "Good Touch" and "Bad Touch" with their children.

Tiwari explains that "Good Touch" is a caring and positive touch, like a friendly pat on the back or a warm bear hug. These touches make children feel comfortable and loved. On the other hand, she notes that "Bad Touch" involves any touch that can hurt a child's body or feelings. This might include actions like pinching, hitting, or touching private areas that are typically covered by clothing.

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In her guidance, Tiwari introduces the "Swimsuit Rule," a simple yet effective method to teach children about inappropriate touch. She suggests parents explain to their children that the areas covered by a swimsuit or undergarments are private parts. These parts belong solely to the child, and nobody else should touch or see them. Tiwari believes that this rule offers a clear boundary that children can easily understand, helping them recognize when someone has crossed the line.

However, Tiwari advises parents and caregivers to go beyond just setting rules. She encourages open communication with children, stressing that it's okay for them to say "no" to any touch that makes them uncomfortable, even if it comes from a friend or a family member. She emphasizes that children should be empowered to voice their feelings and concerns.

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