New initiative on checking child abuse

New Delhi, Aug 22 (IANS) As part of its special focus on tackling child abuse, Unicef Thursday launched a new initiative in India asking people to speak out more forcefully to fight violence against children.

The campaign 'Time to Sound the Red Siren' will place special focus on sexual violence against girls.

"While violence affects both boys and girls in India in different forms, this special focus is associated with the fact that girls are among the most vulnerable in society and they face multiple forms of discrimination and violence," Caroline Den Dulk, chief of advocacy and communications, Unicef India, told reporters here.

It is part of Unicef's global campaign on violence against children, she said.

Razia Ismail, convener, India Alliance for Child rights, said: "Instead of just reacting to cases of child abuse, there is a need to anticipate and take precautions against dangers to children."

"We need to create an atmosphere where violence against children cannot be thought of," she said.

According to Dora Giusti, child protection specialist, Unicef India: "Evidence suggests that perpetrators are people who are known to children."

Another myth is that sexual violence happens in poor areas and slums only while the fact is that it can happen anywhere, she said.

According to statistics, reports of rapes in India have increased by 336 percent in the past 10 years.

In 2011, one third of the 7,112 rape victims were girls below 18 years.

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