Bengaluru, Nov 8: Like girls, boys are equally at risk of abuse and there is a need to make sex education compulsory in schools with a focus on what constitutes child abuse, rights activists said on Sunday.
A petition signed by 3,000 parents from across India would be submitted to union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi this month to demand that the boys too need sensitisation on their rights, child rights activist Kumar V. Jahgirdar said here.
"Our society doesn't believe that the boys can also be sexually abused. This needs to be corrected through awareness programmes of the government," he said.
"There is need for strict implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) of 2012 by creating awareness at the grassroots," Jahgirdar, who is president of Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) that is fighting for shared parenting in case of divorce, told IANS.
The POCSO defines a child as anyone below the age of 18 years and protects them from physical offences.
The petition demands to make sex education compulsory and take steps to promote boys' safety along with the girls'.
Women's rights activist Sudha Rajashekar demanded inheritance and succession-like law that would ensure grandparents' rights to be with their grandchildren in cases of marital discord and breakdown between couples.
"We are receiving a number of complaints from the elderly people that there is no law that protects their rights as grandparents in case of matrimonial discord of their children," Rajashekar, who is based here, said.
Rajashekar heads the grandparents' wing of CRISP.
Quoting the Women and Child Development Ministry figures on child abuse cases, Jahgirdar said those in the age group of 5-12 years have reported higher levels of abuse. He has already demanded a separate union ministry for child development as they constitute more than 40 percent of the population.
The activists demanded setting up of a countrywide child helpline to report cases of abuse, and to train schoolchildren how to use it without revealing the name or identity of the victim and their family.