Advocacy

Background

‘Breaking the Silence’ (BTS) has the statistical proof that Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) prevails silently in the society of Bangladesh. When BTS started its journey in 1994, the society was unlikely to acknowledge this reality and almost no practical initiative was there to push the issue. BTS conducted a study on 50 cases at the very beginning when children shared their trauma and helpless situation regarding sexual abuse by different perpetrators; both familiar and stranger. Though it was not easy to deal with child sexual abuse issue in the community, BTS continued its work to combat child sexual abuse based on its study and the request of community people. BTS shared the challenges with adult community people, concerned NGOs and experts who recommended mainstreaming the social movement against CSA. Incorporating concerned text materials in the textbook was considered as the most effective measure in this regard. It was believed to make children directly and guardians indirectly aware of the facts and functioning of child sexual abuse. To attain such a goal requires a strong advocacy especially with the government. Moreover, government has not been responsive to the demands of the children; governance was not child friendly. So, advocacy was considered important with a broader goal of making government officials aware of CSA so that any concerned policy of the government can act as strong protector of children against sexual abuse.

Goal

To make the government and non-government organizations and elites aware of the causes and effects of child sexual abuse and push this issue as a prioritized agenda of public and private policy

Issues of Advocacy

  • Incorporating child sexual abuse issues in NCTB curriculum and textbook as protection education.
  • Ensuring child friendly local governance.
  • Incorporating CSA issue in national children policy.
  • Incorporating CSA in public policy agenda.
  • Raising voice for child friendly law and judiciary.

Activities

  • Sharing meetings with guardians, teachers, social leaders, religious leaders and children.
  • Consultation meetings and round table with Advocates, Experts, CSO representatives and Government officials.
  • Publication of different studies on child sexual abuse issue in Bangladesh.
  • Capacity building of local elected bodies to ensure the participation of children in decision making, allocate a portion of budget for children, develop plan and ensure the implementation in this regard.
  • Development of curriculum for NCTB textbooks.
  • Maintaining liaison with the policy officials of government to Incorporate child sexual abuse issues in NCTB curriculum and textbook .
  • Sharing meetings with government officials to raise the concern of child sexual abuse to be addressed through governance.
  • Regular seminar, symposium and campaign on CSA issue.
Chronology Activities Outcomes
1994-98
  • Empirical study on child sexual abuse
  • Sharing meetings with CSOs, NGOs, Government Officials, Teachers, guardians etc.
  • Seminars
Recommendations
01. To work directly with children
02. To develop a system of raising awareness
 
  Incorporating CSA issue in textbook was highly recommended. BTS stepped forward with this agenda to reach two goals; i. Providing minimum information to the children from every level of the society and crating a scope of sharing between children and elders (short-term) ii. Building a total generation properly aware of CSA concern.
1999- 2006
  • Consulting different social groups on the child sexual abuse issue of Bangladesh
  • Consulting lawyers who said that they would prefer social awareness to legal action in the fight against CSA
2007 An empirical study (survey) on 770 teachers from 19 districts 91% of the respondent teachers opined that they would have no problem in teaching such a text.
2007-09
  • Sharing meetings with education department of government
  • Curriculum development
  • Day long workshops with related organizations
01. Formal agreement with NCTB to review the text materials by NCTB experts
02. Comprehensive recommendations from different organizations and groups
 
2010-11
  • Review of the text materials by NCTB Experts
  • Sharing meetings with NCTB and other related organs of the government
  • Playing role to input protection issue in National Child Policy 2011 through concerned networks.
01. Developed draft of the text materials
02. Child sexual abuse was addressed under child protection section of National Children Policy 2011 (article 6.7.1)
 
2012-13
  • Playing role through network to have an improved children act.
  • Conducting a try-out study on developed text material
01. Final text following the incorporation of the feedbacks of try- out study