According to government data, 53% of children in India report they have been sexually abused. In 2012, the much-awaited Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Bill (POCSO) came into force.
The law is a result of continuous lobbying and advocacy for more than a decade by child rights groups in India. A culture of silence around the issue, increasing cases of sexual abuse, no proper understanding relative to legal and preventive aspects of child sexual exploitation, and lack of adequate child protection, especially for unprivileged communities, are some of the many challenges.
In 2013, ADMCF responded to the lack of resources and training on child sexual abuse (CSA) in India by establishing Aarambh in partnership with Mumbai anti-trafficking NGO, Prerana. Aarambh, led by ADMCF India country head, Uma Subramanian, launched its online resource centre www.aarambhindia.org in 2014. In 2015, Aarambh worked on 87 cases, ensuring these sexually abused children received the medical, legal and psychological support they needed. Aarambh India’s main focus is building upon the POCSO law and supporting local partners to ensure it is implemented.
As part of the initiative, Aarambh is working on a project with UNICEF India to set up Child Friendly Spaces in hospitals in Mumbai and develop mechanisms with law enforcement to combat the growing problem of online child pornography. Aarambh also partnered with UK-based Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) to introduce India’s first online child sex abuse imagery reporting button as part of the Aarambh portal. This initiative was launched in September 2016 by Aarambh, IWF, Prerana, ADMCF and Maneka Gandhi, India’s Women and Child Welfare Minister.
In 2017, Aarambh received the National Award for Child Welfare 2016, recognising the importance of their work.
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