MYSURU: Children continue to be vulnerable on all fronts. While they may be less susceptible to the virus, the pandemic has unleashed an uptick in cases of child abuse.
Data shared by the Karnataka Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR) has revealed that children below 18 years faced emotional, physical and online abuses after the lockdown was lifted after the first wave. Experts have suggested a comprehensive action plan to protect kids from these kinds of challenges. Between October 2020 and January 2021, children from the state faced instances of such abuse.
According to the data, in October 2020, 55 children faced were subject to various forms of emotional abuse like using abusive or foul language, humiliating or threatening them, withholding support etc. November saw 38 such cases, December 42 and January 2021 saw 60, the highest in four months.
During this period, 411 children were abused physically. Other major challenges faced by children during these four months include online abuse on socia media platforms, child labour, beggary among others.
A challenge facing parents is protecting kids from online abuse with increased screen time following the launch of online educational activities. BN Nandini, assistant superintendent of police, Hassan, says parents approach them seeking guidance on how to deal with challenges like children hooked on to online games, chatting and befriending strangers on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Karnataka Commissioner for the Protection of Child Rights (KCPCR) chairman Antony Sebastian said a multi pronged approach is required to protect kids from emotional, physical and other forms of abuse. “Counselling for parents, awareness drives, activities at panchayat levels are required to protect kids,” he observed.
Nagasimha Rao, Child Rights Trust director, said complaints of emotional abuse has increased after the pandemic. “Emotional abuse affects children deeply. Parents and extended family members abuse kids by stopping their education, forcing them into an early marriage, forced labour among many other forms of abuse. The need of the hour is to create awareness against such forms of abuse and deprivation,” he said.
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