Department of Social Welfare on Tuesday organised a ‘Mass Awareness Rally Against Child Sexual Abuse’ in Imphal, raising awareness on the issue and spreading the message to stop sexual child abuse in society.
The rally was flagged off by state additional chief secretary (Social Welfare) P Vaiphei from the western gate of DM University.
The rally headed towards Khoyathong crossing and after passing Nagamapal road, it continued towards BT road. Later, it moved towards the front of the PWD office along NH-2 and culminated at the western gate of DM University.
Speaking on the sideline of the rally, Vaiphei expressed that the crime rate, including unreported incidents in connection with child sexual abuse has been increasing in the state.
Most crimes on children are usually carried out by their own family members or near ones, he said. To prevent such criminal acts, the rally is being organised to raise awareness on the impact of such crimes on society, he added.
The procession was taken out by displaying banners that read, ‘save soul, save child’, ‘there is no excuse for Child Sexual Abuse’ while placards that read, ‘Let children be safe, free and alive… Stop child Abuse’, ‘Do not take away the spring from one’s childhood, Stop Child Sexual Abuse’, ‘Children are not toys’ and others.
Later, during a function conducted after the rally at Ima Khunthokhanbi Shanglen, Thangmeiband located inside DM University, Social Welfare minister H Dingo Singh said in the last few years after the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act was passed in 2012, a rise in POCSO related cases in Manipur are being witnessed.
Since April 1, 2021 more than 150 cases related to the POCSO Act have been registered. Cases related to POSCO where crimes committed not only to the girls but also the boys are being reported. A collective effort is needed from the society to prevent such crimes from happening, he said.
He further said similar awareness rallies will be organised in other districts of the state in the near future.
Director of social welfare Ngangom Uttam Singh said children who are victims of sexual or physical abuse should not hide the incident but must disclose them immediately without fear. If an incident is kept hidden, then there are high possibilities of it being repeated again and it could encourage the culprits or the accused persons, he added.
Committing such crimes not only affects the physical health of the child but also leaves a mental trauma which could further bring bigger impacts on the society, he said.
Such culprits or accused persons should be given severe punishment and each child should be given awareness of “good touch or bad touch,” he said. Children should not remain hesitant to raise voices against those culprits or accused persons, Uttam added.
He appealed to the society for a collective effort in order to stop such crimes in the near future as without it the crimes will not be prevented.