Mumbai: Majority of violence against kids in schools, parents not worried

Updated: Dec 12, 2017, 11:25 IST | Pallavi Smart

Survey by the NGO Child Rights & You reveals a majority unaffected by the increasing cases of violence against children in educational institutions with the mentality being 'it won't happen to my child'

The last few months have seen a lot of violence against children on school premises being reported. Yet, most parents don't seem much worried by it, if the latest survey by the NGO Child Rights & You (CRY) is to be believed - over 80 per cent in Mumbai believe their children are safest in school. A mere 15 per cent parents acknowledged that strangers, staffers and others posed a threat to their children in school.

According to National Crime Records Bureau data, crimes against children have increased by more than 500 per cent in the last decade with Mumbai alone recording 3,400 such cases. And this data is what makes the CRY survey findings that much more surprising.

A few findings
For the survey, conducted over two months, parents of children in the age group of 3-14 - from slums as well as high-rises from Cuffe Parade, Kurla, Kalina, Colaba, Sion, Wadala, Powai, Goregaon and Kandivli - were interviewed. Both sections cited sexual abuse and kidnapping as the biggest threats for children, followed by accidents and bad company.

The survey focused on understanding current awareness levels and perception of parents on children's safety and whether there were differences in opinion between privileged and underprivileged families. While parents perceived that there were definite risks facing children, most believed their children were protected. The contexts in which protection of children was assessed were physical or emotional abuse and violence, neglect, lack of sensitivity and response mechanism, and economic exploitation among others.

Four out of five parents felt that their children were completely safe in school. Accidental risks facing their children were much more widely acknowledged than non-accidental ones (intentional/harm/abuse/exploitation/abduction). Transportation of the child came up as a key worrying issue in the survey - 60 per cent of respondents from slums and 39 per cent from privileged backgrounds said their kids faced risks during commute.

Which is the safe zone?
Less than 2 per cent parents from the underprivileged section and less than 20 per cent privileged ones perceived non-accidental risks facing their children at school. Also, a mere 13 per cent of privileged and 2 per cent of underprivileged parents acknowledged that there was a risk to their children in school from other people. Less than 1 in 10 parents said there could be risks to their children kept in the care of relatives, neighbours or maids. A majority from both backgrounds said they had taken active measures to keep their children safe with two-thirds saying their kids' safety was also the government's responsibility.

Talking about the survey, Kreeanne Rabadi, regional director (CRY West), said, "The dip-stick survey threw up some interesting findings. While parents seem to be taking active measures to keep their children safe, the findings indicate that there needs to be more awareness generated on the larger construct of child protection. We also need the government to address parents' concerns and play an active role in ensuring kids' safety."

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The surveyed groups
For the survey, conducted over two months, parents of children in the age group of 3-14 - from slums as well as high-rises - were interviewed. The survey focused on understanding current awareness levels and perception of parents regarding children's safety and whether there were differences in opinion between privileged and underprivileged families.

Crunching numbers
80%
parents believe that schools are the safest for their kids

15%
parents acknowledge the threat their kids face from others on school premises

500%
is the rise in crimes against children in the last decade, as per NCRB's data

3,400
is the no. of cases of crimes against children recorded in Mumbai in the last decade

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