INDIA: Salesians in India Adopt Child Protection Policies to Protect Vulnerable Youth
(MissionNewswire) While public awareness has been raised about sexual violence against women in India, much less is known about the sexual abuse of children. Studies from humanitarian groups suggest that more than 7,200 children, including infants, are raped every year. Sexual abuse is just one of many atrocities children face in India as many are also subject to physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, child labor and child trafficking.
In January 2014, in response to the overwhelming need to protect young children in the country, the management and staff of a Salesian School in Alaknanda, in the Province of New Delhi, adopted specific policies and procedures for the protection of children in their care. The Salesian Policies for the Protection of the Child, 2014, states that the entire Salesian school community shares a responsibility and a sense of duty in caring for the needs of the young and helping them to reach their potential so that they may enjoy life to its fullest.
The policy document offers guidelines and procedures for child protection in the Salesian Provinces of India and addresses a standard of behavior for all the provinces, provincial superiors, institutions, members of the Salesian Society and staff members, associates and visitors in Salesian institutions. The policy focuses on six key priority areas for children in their care: survival, health and nutrition; education and development; protection; participation; environment; and advocacy and networking.
“This Child Protection Policy will help to eliminate vigilantly all risks of child exploitation and abuse in all our services,” wrote Father Maria Arokiam Kanaga, the Regional Councilor of the Salesians for South Asia in the foreword of the policy. “Don Bosco Child Protection Policy – India is a sign of our unwavering commitment to serving the young in our land. While we are far from perfect, we still stand tall as pioneer educators in the society with passionate commitment to the protection and safety of children. Don Bosco’s entire system of assistance is a framework of constructive presence among the young, involving also rules and regulations, meant to protect and promote children in our institutions. This document is therefore in keeping with our century-long traditions in this field.”
In order to educate Salesians staff about these new policies, staff at the Salesian School in Alaknanda attended a seminar given by Father Babu Varghese, rector and dean, on the importance and necessity of the protection of minors. He provided an overview of the different kinds of abuse and spoke about the gravity of such criminal acts and their implications in the context of human rights violations. Father Varghese also reviewed the new policy document and reiterated the importance of educating children about their rights and standing together as a community to oppose criminal acts.
“Caring and protecting children in our care is not just a responsibility, it is a priority and a concrete expression of our wholehearted commitment to the welfare, protection and empowerment of the children in our care,” concluded Fr. Varghese at the end of the seminar.
PHOTO courtesy of Don Bosco India
Don Bosco India – Salesians in India take a Giant step for Child Protection