Published: 19th November 2021
Helpline numbers to report child abuse, sexual harassment to be part of school textbooks in Tamil Nadu: Education Minister
A special training programme was conducted by the state government as part of World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. Over 315 teachers from government, private and aided schools participated
The Tamil Nadu School Education Minister, Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said, on November 19, that the government is considering printing school textbooks with a helpline number to report child abuse and sexual harassment. "To help students report about child abuse and sexual harrasment, the government is considering to print the helpline number '14417' in all school textbooks. A dedicated team has been deployed to handle calls coming through this toll-free number," Poyyamozhi.
The Minister was speaking at an event in Tiruchy which was held at the Bishop Heber School to observe World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. Awareness posters on various laws were released during this event, the posters will be distributed to all the schools in the district.
A special training programme was conducted by the state government as part of this event where over 315 teachers in total from government, private and aided schools participated alongside the non-teaching staff. The training programme included representatives from Tulir, which is an NGO working to prevent and heal child abuse, who raised awareness amongst teachers about laws such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. They also held discussions on how to handle students, who reach out to them with a complaint.
While speaking at the programme, the Minister said that the aim is to educate teachers and equip them to prevent and address cases of child abuse and sexual harassment. "These teachers, in turn, will become trainers for the fellow teachers in their respective schools and efforts are being taken to conduct similar training programmes for teachers in other districts," Poyyamozhi said.
On a question of what is being done to strengthen the Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) and what action is being taken to address the pending complaints in them, Poyyamozhi said, "All teachers are instructed to conduct proper investigations based on the merits of the complaints. As schools have re-opened, we are making efforts to strengthen the ICC through the school management committee. All pending cases will be investigated."