Any form of child abuse is a gross violation of the rights of the child.
UNICEF has supported the Study on Child Abuse: India 2007 and believes it is an important step in tackling the issue so that a healthy and protective environment can be created for all children in India.
The study is one of the largest empirical in-country studies of its kind in the world and complements the UN Secretary General’s global study on violence against children released in 2006.
UNICEF agrees with the Government of India that there is an urgent need for a national policy addressing child abuse and for that policy to be translated into legislation. Towards this end, the Government of India has already drawn up the Offences Against Children Bill. Once the Bill is passed, the legislation must be effectively implemented.
The findings of the Study on Child Abuse clearly indicate that a very large number of children in India are not even safe in their homes. It is here, in the home, that we must start tackling the problem of child abuse. Interventions are needed to bring about change in the ways family members behave towards children in the home.
Research shows that the incidence of abuse among school-going children is lower than amongst those who do not attend school. All efforts must therefore be made to ensure that all children attend school and that schools provide them with a protective environment that is free from violence, with an emphasis on the elimination of corporal punishment.
UNICEF will continue to support interventions by the Government that work towards ensuring a safe and protective environment for children. These include capacity building of stakeholders, institutional strengthening and legislation in order to ensure that homes and schools are safe havens for children.