CSA Over View
Pocso - Laws

Kolkata Molestation Case
Times of India Article on 13-Feb-2018
Times of India Article on 13-Feb-2018

What is Chid Sexual Abuse?
Child Sexual Abuse is the use of a child - girl or boy - for sexual gratification by an older or more powerful person.

The offender is usually an adult, but could also be a more powerful child.

Types of child sexual abuse / What is considered sexual abuse
CSA may be in the form of a single incident or many acts over a long period of time. Abuse is more often perpetrated by someone known to the child. Abuse may escalate over time, particularly if the abuser is a family member. Child Sexual Abuse includes both Touching and Non-Touching Behavior (but need not be limited only to these acts) . It is CSA if there is

  Fondling- Touching genitals.
  Obscene phone calls
  Oral or anal sex
  Exploitation – giving or receiving money / gifts / chocolates for using a child for sexual       gratification.

Or any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare.

At What Age Can CSA Start
One of the youngest victims of sexual abuse was a one and a half months old baby. However, in majority of cases, sexual abuse begins around 5 years of age, peaks at around 12 -14 years of age and then begins to decline (as per the Govt. report). It can, however, continue into adulthood.

Typical Patterns of Child Abusers
  They usually strike up relationships with adults who have children at home, specially       single parent families
  Victim selection and recruitment are next – They select those kids who feel unloved and       unpopular, who spend time alone and unsupervised, who lack confidence and self-esteem.
  They finally find and fill voids in a child's life.

Baits Used by Child Abusers
  They may offer to play games, give rides, or buy treats and gifts as tokens of friendship.
  They may offer drugs or alcohol to older children or teenagers.
  They almost always offer a sympathetic, understanding ear. I trust you. I respect you. I       care for you more than anybody else. And "I love you. I'm here for you".

  They will Introduce secrecy at some point during the grooming process to create a bond
  Later secrecy joins hands with threats
  They break down the child's defenses and increase the child's acceptance of touch
  Nonsexual touching in the beginning desensitizes the child. It breaks down inhibitions       and leads to more overt sexual touching

Inappropriate behaviors indicating SA
When an adult or older child:
  Shows undue attention towards a child?
  Insists on hugging, touching, kissing, tickling, wrestling with or holding a child even       when the child does not want this affection.
   He/she is overly interested in the sexuality of a particular child (e.g.,talks repeatedly about the child's developing body)?
  Constantly maneuvers to get time alone or insists on time alone with a child
  Spends most of his/her spare time with children and has little interest in spending time       with someone of his/her own age
  Buys for children expensive gifts or gives them money for no apparent reason
  Frequently intrudes a child's privacy, for instance walks in when children are in the bathroom?
  Allows children to consistently get away with undisciplined behavior?

Myths and Facts

Myth 1: Children are rarely abused in India, due to the Indian socio-cultural system

Fact: The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt of India, PRAYS and UNICEF, 2007 reported that out of 12,447 children (hailing from all strata of society), 53% reported sexual abuse. Out of 12,447 children, 21% reported severe sexual abuse.

Myth 2: Boys are not susceptible to CSA.

Fact: Research also shows the incidence of sexual abuse of boys is also on the rise. 52% of boys and 47% of girls have reported sexual abuse of one form or the other. More boys than girls have reported severe form of sexual abuse.

Myth 3: Child sexual abuse occurs mostly in poor and illiterate families.

Fact: Research on reported incidents (from children and adult survivors) clearly indicates that child sexual abuse is a widespread problem affecting all strata of society.

Myth 4: Children lie and make up stories about sexual abuse

Fact: Children never lie about CSA. When a child comes to you reporting CSA always believe, trust, protect and support them.

Myth 5: CSA occurs in surrounding unfamiliar to the child.

Facts: Every child we know is vulnerable to sexual abuse even at home-house help/drivers/family members/neighbors. Children with disabilities are 3.4 times more likely to be abused compared with non-disabled children

Myth 6: Child Sexual Abuse starts only when the child is much older

Fact: One of the youngest victims of sexual abuse was a one and a half months old baby. However, in majority of cases, sexual abuse begins around 5 years of age, peaks at around 12 -14 years of age and then begins to decline (as per the Govt. report). It can, however, continue into adulthood in some cases.

Myth 7: 24 hour surveillance of the child will prevent sexual abuse

Fact: It is not possible for a single adult to look after a child 24 hours a day. It is much better to empower the child. The child can be taught personal safety, personal space rules, and safe and unsafe touch, just as we teach our children about how to protect the body from heat, cold, fire and injury. Ask the child to come and tell you if anyone ever breaks the body rules or if they experience an unsafe touch.

Myth 8: Explaining about personal safety (safe and unsafe touch) to the child will unnecessarily frighten the child

Fact: The child will not be frightened if we explain about personal safety as a choice and introduce the concept in a comfortable and non-threatening manner. We can tell the child that “your body belongs to you.” No one can touch you in a way you don’t like. (This includes pinching and slapping and hitting etc.)”.

Talk especially about the parts covered by the undergarments or swimsuit. How no one can touch them in those parts, except when keeping them clean and healthy (mother, doctor). Talk about personal space – the space around our body that we consider to be our own. Talk about safe and unsafe touch. Children are told about strangers and robbers and kidnappers. Similarly tell them about their body rules and personal space. Do not frighten the child. Explain that most adults want to help and protect children. There are a few ‘bad’ people who want to hurt children. We need to protect ourselves from such people.

Myth 9: If society gets to know of the abuse, the child have more to lose than the abuser

Fact: The silence of the abused and the people who know about it, is the main reason that sexual abuse continues. By exposing the abuser in a way which does not traumatize the child, helps the child to heal as well as stops other children from being abused. Everyone wants to “Look Good” and have a “good” reputation. The criminal has his reputation to lose. The child is a victim, blameless and innocent and will heal faster from the trauma if he / she perceives that justice has been done. Also important for the safe adults to form a union and handle this with sensitivity keeping the abused child in mind, by not telling other kids more than what they require to know, not targeting and isolating the abused child.

Facts about child sexual abuse
  Any child we know is vulnerable to sexual abuse
  Child sexual abuse is a universal problem affecting millions of children across the world
  Both boys and girls are vulnerable to sexual abuse
  Children with disabilities are 3.4 times more likely to be abused compared with non-disabled children

Common Adult Reactions to avoid when CSA is disclosed by your child



  Explain away

  Disbelieve allegations of abuse

Note : This may be particularly true if the perpetrator is a family member.

When children disclose SA
  Parents can be traumatized
  Brings up their past sexual abuse
  Decrease their ability to adequately parent their child
  Makes them feel guilty, angry and helpless
  Can increase marital / extended family difficulties
  May fracture the family core in case of incest

The absence of force or coercion does not diminish the abusive nature of the conduct, but, sadly, it may cause the child to feel responsible for what has occurred.

Who can Abuse a Child
Rarely complete strangers, most often family members or acquaintances and someone the victim trusts explicitly:

  Fathers / mothers
  Siblings / cousins
  Other family members - uncles, aunts
  Neighbors, caregivers
  Religious leaders
  Teachers / coaches or anyone else who is in close contact with children

Does an abuser have defining characteristics?
  Usually are pedophiles or child molesters
  They do not share any specific common characteristics
  Both men and women can be abusers 
  They do not belong to any particular socio-economic class
  Education, or the lack of it, does not define an abuser 
  They need not have any psychiatric disorder or emotional / psychological problems
  They can be married and have children of their own
  May or may not have history of abuse in his/her childhood 

When targeting a child, abusers usually
  Pick someone who can be safely victimized 
  Get access to the child by gaining the trust of the child's parent or adult caretaker
  Gain the child's trust and break down his / her defenses
  Spend time observing and then tricking the child into performing sexual acts so that       the victim appears to be a willing partner
  Manipulate an apparently "willing victim“ through encouragement, coercion,       surveillance, constraint and bribery

  The above explained process is called grooming.
  It increases the abuser’s access to his victim and decreases the likelihood of       discovery.
  The abuser works on the premise that emotional seduction is the most effective way       to manipulate children.
  Grooming begins when the abuser chooses a target area where children are likely to       go: schools, parks, shopping malls, playgrounds,etc.

Who is more at risk of being abused?
  Children who believe that "respect" means unquestioning obedience to authority
  Those who don’t have appropriate sex education, either by way of vocabulary or       boundaries due to cultural norms and embarrassment
  Social norms giving children lower status than adults
  A child's predisposition to love unconditionally and trust implicitly.

Higher Risk
  Having few friends/ isolated
  Desire to please
  Values stressing family honor
  Dysfunctional family
  Low self-esteem of the child

How to recognize children's disclosure?
  Indirect hints - When a child says 'I don't want to go to uncle's house anymore 'or' please don't leave me alone with her'
  They likely to give a little information at a time, maybe over several hours, weeks,       months, or even years as the children test reactions to their words
  They seem hesitant, confused, or uncertain while disclosing and later, may even deny       the abuse ever happened. This does not mean that the abuse did not occur.

Physical Indicators of Child Abuse
  Difficulty in walking or sitting
  Anxiety related illnesses, such as anorexia or bulimia
  Discomfort in urinating or defecating
  Recurrent urinary infections
  Evidence of physical trauma, to the oral, genital or anal areas, such as bleeding,       discharge, soreness and/or itching
  Bruising and other injury to breasts, buttocks and thighs and other parts of the body
  Sexually transmitted disease in a child of any age
  Unexplained pregnancy

Behavioral Indicators
  A change in the social behavior of the child – a happy child becomes introvert, silent.
  Learning problems, absences from school, inexplicable fall in academic grades, poor       memory and lack of concentration.
  The child may become insecure and cling to a safe adult.
  Replaying the abuse with another child, generally younger or same age as them. This is       known as sexualized behavior.
  Change in eating habits: Child starts losing weight or may eat excessively, thus putting       on weight.
  Reluctance to participate in group physical or recreational activities
  Regression to younger behavior, such as thumb-sucking, acting like a baby, bedwetting,       speech difficulties
  Sudden accumulation of money or gifts
  Complaining of headaches, stomach pains or nausea without a physiological basis
  Fatigue and sleeping difficulties
  Poor self-care/personal hygiene/excessive bathing
  Tendency to cling or need constant reassurance
  Social withdrawal (such as poor or deteriorating relationships with adults and peers)
  Child running away from home/school.
  Developing fears, phobias and anxieties in relation to a specific place or adult related to       abuse
  Wearing of provocative clothing, or layers of clothes to hide injuries and/or to appear       unattractive
  Obsession with sex or complete aversion to it.
  Questioning their sexuality and gender
  Drug and alcohol use, abuse and addiction.
  Sleeping & Eating disorders
  Perfectionism and workholism
  Sexual offending
  Mental illness
  Sexual knowledge, behavior, or use of language not age appropriate
  Sexual inference in children's recreational activities such as drawing, playing, singing, etc.
  Sexually abusive behavior towards other children particularly younger or more       vulnerable than themselves
  Self-injurious behavior, body-mutilation, getting into trouble with law, suicide attempts

Effects of child abuse
  Distrust of others and themselves
  Terror and anxiety
  Shame, guilt and self - hatred
  Alienation from their bodies
  Powerlessness, Depression, Extreme Passivity
  Relationship problems / Marital Problems

Other factors
Multiple forms of maltreatment or neglect may accompany child sexual abuse

  Physical abuse
  Domestic Violence
  Emotional Abuse
  Absence of one parent

How to keep children safe from sex offenders?
  Teach children to trust their feelings and that it is okay to say "No" when someone they       know and care about, does something they do not like.
  Set and respect family boundaries.
  Speak up when "warning sign" behaviors are seen or reported.
  Get comfortable talking about difficult topics such as sexual abuse and saying the       proper names of body parts before teaching them to children.
  Teach children the differences between Safe touch and Unsafe touch and the secrets       about touching are not OK.
  Tell them that people they know could be capable of doing hurtful things.
  Encourage, affirm, and acknowledge a child's opinions and feelings - giving them a sense of self-esteem and confidence.
  Involve your child in setting up a safety plan that is easy to remember.
  List for yourself and your child whom to call for advice, information, and help.

What you can do as parents / teachers
  Know your child's teachers, coaches, day care providers, and other significant adults in       their lives.
  Make unannounced visits.
  Ask questions. Stay involved. Talk to your children.
  Teach them to recognize grooming behavior.
  Teach them to be wary of any physical contact initiated by an adult.
  Teach them to trust you with their problems and their pain.

Keep Your Child Safe
The safest child is the child who knows he can bring his problems and concerns to parents and adult caregivers without reproach or retaliation.

In Conclusion
"The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it." -Albert Einstein

If a child tells you she/he was abused
Don't react with
   shock - 'How could you?'
   Disbelief - 'What nonsense!'
   Denial - 'Don't make up stories.'
   Self-blame - 'I should have been more careful'
   Anger - 'I told you not to...'
   Confusion - 'What? I don't understand...'
   Doubt - 'Is it true.. Can't be...'
These are common reactions which don't help the child.

How should I respond?
   Find a private place to talk
  Believe the child; they may be confused about details but rarely lie about the abuse
   Remain calm; don't over or under react
  Thank your child for telling you and praise her courage. If she expresses guilt or shame,       let her know the abuse was not her fault.
  Respect the feelings your child is experiencing. Each child expresses his or her feelings       differently.
  Tell the child it was not her/ his fault. The adult was at fault. The adult is guilty of a       crime – even if the child did not tell when the abuse first started, the child was not       responsible for the abuse continuing.
  Tell the child that you would like to take the help of other adults (family members,       institutions, staff members) to help the child, with the child’s permission.
  Do not make false promises like “I will send the abuser to jail. I will beat him /her up       etc’
  Do not question or blame the child – “Why did you not shout for help?” “Why did you       not tell me earlier?” “Why did you not fight?” Remember, it is a child and the abuser is a       person known to the child – trusted and loved by the child.
  Do not ask the child to “forgive” “forget” or “adjust”.

What should I do?
   Keep the child away from the offender
   Do not make negative comments about the abuser since your child may know and care       about that person.
   Don't correct your child's language if she doesn't use the proper terms for private body       parts. Use her language.
  Tell your child you will be taking action to keep her safe, but don't promise things you       can't control (e.g., "I'll make sure he goes to jail").
  Report the abuse and seek professional assistance

What does an abused child want?
An abused child wants two things:
   The child wants to be believed and
   The child wants the abuse to stop.

Web Links related to CSA
  Sound of Silence Hyderabad

Why don't children report sexual abuse?
  Fear of remembering
  Fear of losing love, acceptance, status
  Fear of shame and guilt
  Fear of not being believed
  Fear of being blamed or judged
  Fear of further harm to self or parent
  Lack of vocabulary of their private parts and the resulting inability to describe acts of       sexual abuse.
  Not recognizing they have been abused - especially young children and the disabled.

CSA continue?
  Initial disclosure is not done
  Abuse continues
  Child now feels trapped and thinks

"I did not tell anyone when it first started. How can I tell them now?
Everyone will blame me for not resisting or not telling them earlier.
I feel too ashamed to explain all this to my mom/dad/teacher.
May be it will stop."

The abuser, emboldened by the silence, goes ahead

You can teach your children about safe and an unsafe touch without intimidating them by using the format below. Teach them that their body is theirs’ alone ... Covered by their swim suits are their private parts and no one is allowed to touch them in those parts.


Safe Touch
Ask them “Does it feel good to be hugged and kissed by the people you love.”

  Do you like it when mummy gives you a hug and kiss after you wake up?
  When daddy gives you a good-night hug and kiss?
  When Grandma and Grandpa or cousins and friends come to visit and everyone gets hugs and kisses? and Chocolates?

Tell them that these are all safe touches

Unsafe Touch
A touch that makes you feel uncomfortable is usually an unsafe touch. Tell your child that they don't have to keep it a secret, when someone gives them an unsafe touch. Teach them “Your body belongs to you. Nobody should touch you if you don't want to be touched.”

Always remember
  It is an unsafe touch if it hurts you.
  It is an unsafe touch if a person asks you not to tell anyone about it or to keep it a secret.
  It is an unsafe touch if someone touches you on your body where you don't want to be touched. Usually those are the body parts covered by your swimsuit
  It is an unsafe touch if a person touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.
  It is an unsafe touch if that touch makes you feel scared and nervous.
  It is an unsafe touch if a person forces you to touch him or her.
  It is an unsafe touch if a person threatens to hurt you, if you tell someone.

Tell them ‘Your body belongs to you, respect and take care of your body, you can decide who can touch you, who can kiss you, or who can give you a hug’.

“You have the right to say, "No"” to anybody even if it is a family member, friend or cousin.

‘If someone touches you in a way you don’t like, shout loudly and say’…. ‘No”
  You can scream loudly, tell the unsafe person that you don't like it and you don't want to be touched.
  Get away fast! Run away from the person whose touch you don't like.
  Call for help. Talk to a person who you can be safe with and can trust also.
  Believe in yourself. You did nothing wrong.
  Don't let threats scare you into keeping quiet.
  When a person touches you and asks you to keep it a secret the person is unsafe. Tell a safe person about this immediately.
  Do everything you can to stay away from the unsafe person. Don't stay alone with a person who touches you in a way that makes you uncomfortable or makes you feel       unsafe.
  Don't keep secrets that make you feel uncomfortable. Go to a safe person, can be a       parent, a relative, a teacher, or your doctor, or police. If the people you go to don’t       believe you, go to someone else you are safe with, until someone believes you and       helps you.