Odisha Trains Tribal Girl Students On “Good & Bad Touch” To Protect Them From Sexual Abuse & Harassment

Bhubaneswar: The ST & SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department of Odisha has launched an awareness campaign “on good touch and bad touch” to educate and keep girls studying in SSD Residential Schools of the state safe during summer vacation.


A senior official of the department said that harassment and teenage pregnancy cases go up during vacations as parents move out of the house for work while the girls stay at home. The girls are thus being trained to be cautious and alert lest they become victims of sexual abuse.

The department has initiated the campaign acting on a suggestion given by the headmistress of Kandha Maligaon SSD Girls High School in Rayagada, Swarnalata Mohapatra during a “Mo Parikalpana” meet, a people connect initiative of the government.

“The department takes suggestions from the grassroots and Mo Parikalpana is like a listening window to capture the voices from the field so that the observations lead to policy action. A staff had given the idea to start monitoring and creating awareness about good touch and bad touch from this summer. The department implemented her idea,” said Commissioner-cum-Secretary ST & SC Development, Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Department Roopa Roshan Sahoo.

As instances of teenage pregnancies, sexual harassment and sexual abuse have been reported earlier during vacations, the Department has asked the Sexual Harassment Committees (POCSO Committees) at these hostels to be on alert and cross-verify facts.

The matrons of the girls’ hostels have been given life skill education and trained in techniques to address sensitive issues like behavioural changes among adolescent girls, early marriage, teenage pregnancies, managing peer pressure/relationship, gender discrimination, abuse and sexual harassment, pressure of good performance in academics, etc. which lead to anxiety, depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity, etc. among children.

The trained matrons would take stock of the wellness, health and mental health status of the girl students, identify and tackle issues sensitively, impart age-appropriate counselling, and imbibe positive behaviour during the vacation under the Telephonic Counselling Programme started by the department.

There are 1,736 residential SSD schools across Odisha and 5,800 hostels where more than five lakh children stay. Fifty per cent of the students staying in the hostels are girls.

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