Gender Based Child Abuse: A Study among the selected sites in Four North Indian States Supported by World Vision India


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India is a young country with 39% of its population being children. At the same time, there are hardly any child rights implemented. Protection and safety of children is a huge concern for policy although been neglected for a long-time. Many research studies show the extreme vulnerable conditions in which they live and face abuses of different sorts, within the family, on the streets, in the neighbourhood, community and in the institutions like schools and homes. They face not just neglect and verbal abuse, but also physical, sexual and psychological abuse. Abuse during childhood has serious implications on the social, mental health and has consequences in the adulthood.

Everyday newspaper highlights violence against children largely coming from the marginalised sections of the society living in the slums and JJ colonies. That doesn’t mean violence against children doesn’t happen in middle and upper middle classes. National level study by ministry of women and child development, in 2007, showed that abuse is quiet common among children, every third girl and fifth boy are abused in their childhood. Studies also show that more than 80% of perpetrators are known persons to the children. Though violence is more among girls, boys too are victims of abuse and child right issues are most neglected (Durham, 2003; Smith, 2008; Howe, 2007; Rowan, 2006; Turton, 2007). Not just physical and sexual abuse in person, with the increasing exposure of children through different digital media, children are also facing online abuse. In India, there are hardly any empirical studies on understanding Child Abuse from a holistic and comprehensive perspective. We still do not have a policy for children. Though, there is draft policy for children in the making.

The proposed research is an attempt to study the following objectives,

Objectives

  1. To understand various forms of child abuse.
  2. To understand the social and cultural determinants of vulnerabilties of children for various forms of abuse.
  3. To map out any existing unsafe spaces and institutional mechanisms for the protection of children.
  4. Applying anthropological methods of free listing, pile sorting and also observations, the data was collected from the school children. Further, qualitative information was collected by using brief interactions, group discussions, focused group discussions, and the use of case studies.

 

Ethical Approval

Ethics in research will be followed. The design and contents of the survey will be approved from Ethics committee of AIF to review all research proposals if it is within the first two months of the project period.  In any case the proposal will be wetted by the Ethics Review committee of WV. Consent from the children and informed consent from their parents and school teachers will be taken prior to the research. Confidentiality clause will be maintained. Pseudonames will be used in reporting. If the respondents are not willing or want to stop in the middle, the interview will not be conducted further. The POCSO Act makes it mandatory to report any child sexual abuse case, if found, in that case, the researchers will get back to the PI and World Vision to take appropriate steps.

Outcome of the study

  • The findings of the study will throw light on various kinds of violence and enhance our understanding of Child sexual abuse.
  • The findings of the study will be important for policy intervention and making guidelines, training modules for counsellors, important stake holders.
  • The findings of the study will aid in designing strategies to minimize abuse among the vulnerable children and will help in advocacy for child protection.
  • The results of the study would be disseminated in popular magazines and journals for wider outreach.

Implications of the Study

Practical Implications

The study will bring out a set of tools to measure and understand various child abuses. The scales derived from this study can have wider application in the future studies.

Policy Implications

The findings of study will be useful to design the effective policies to eliminate child abuses. In particularly, it helps in understanding the context, pathways and nature of child abuses and their inter-linkages which often missed from previous existing studies.

Social Implications

The findings also help in developing awareness and mass campaigns against the child abuses among parents and communities.