Doctors list how parents can be vigilant to prevent child abuse and assault
They say that open discussion is critical, so that the child is equipped with the ability and the confidence to express anything, even if it causes discomfort
The rape of a Class 8 student by an auto driver who took her to school over almost seven days, has made experts — doctors, police officials and social scientists — sit up.
Doctors are now warning parents to watch for changes in a child’s behaviour when he or she returns home, and to make sure communication channels are open and active.
Dr Adarsh Tripathi, senior faculty, department of psychiatry, King George’s Medical University (KGMU), said, “When you talk about good and bad touch every two months, you gain two things: First, you keep on reminding/revising about bad touch. Second, by keeping the communication channel open, you make your child believe you are ready to talk about anything in this world, no matter how secretive it is.”
He said by discussing these issues, one can equip the child with the ability and the confidence to express anything, even if it causes discomfort.
Doctors also says the first minute of interaction when the child comes back from school or college is the most important to know if something was wrong outside the house.
Dr Devashish Shukla, medical superintendent, Kalyan Singh Super Speciality Cancer Institute and Hospital and a psychiatrist by qualification, said, “Develop the habit of (a) small interaction with your children when they return home from school. Talk to them to make them say a few lines about what happened at school or during travel to-and-fro. Observe if there is a change in the pattern of their conversation, which can give a clear indication of any untoward happening.”
Doctors say any change in behaviour, such as keeping quiet for days together or keeping aloof from other family members or children, is something to take note of.
“Parents must also take note if there are any changes in timings of the child returning home. In the case of the auto driver, the child was returning home later than usual because the accused was taking her to various places. If the parents had been alert, the incident could have been averted,” said Dr Sheila Kumar, a psychiatrist.