SACRED Project: A Program To Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

Trigger & Content Warning: This blog talks of child sexual abuse. 

In a recent study published by National Crime Record Bureau, crimes against children have increased by up to 16.2% between 2020 and 2021 in India and as many as 109 children were sexually abused every day in India.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, such cases of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) have increased in numbers. Under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012), a “child’ is defined as any person below the age of 18, and the act protects children from offenses of sexual abuse and harassment.

Despite such measures, many of the cases go unreported, due to various factors, the most prominent of which is a lack of awareness regarding preventive methods and redressal of such issues.

A child, who is essentially dependent on their caregiver, primarily the parents, and teachers, makes responding to these matters extremely crucial. There is an urgent need to create a safe and nurturing space, to reduce and even prevent such cases of abuse, and create a healthy discussion regarding a child’s bodily autonomy in our country and the world at large.

The Launch of S.A.C.R.E.D Project

We, at Pratisandhi, launched the S.A.C.R.E.D (Sexual Abuse of Children: Redressal, Elimination, and Deterrence) Project in 2022. It addresses and delivers comprehensive, educational sessions for children between the ages of 6-11 years of age on personal safety, consent, as well as safe, unsafe, and unwanted touches. We conduct sessions with the primary stakeholders in cases of Child Sexual Abuse: children, parents, and teachers. Together, we have developed various toolkits keeping their diversity and needs in mind for each group, backed by authentic research.

Till date, we have impacted 1500+ children and parents in Delhi NCR regions with around 20+ on-ground drives. The project has also scaled across other parts of India, inviting participation from various Project Partners, such as Baishali Mukherjee and Sudha Sakthivel, based in Kerala and Tamil Nadu respectively. Recently, more project partners have joined us from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Hyderabad, USA, with upcoming projects in Kolkata, and Nagpur too. Together, the project partners have impacted over 500 individuals after receiving training and support from Pratisandhi.

Sessions with Parents and Teachers

We have developed content-specific toolkits and trained our in-house Peer-Education and Awareness Team to conduct sessions with parents and teachers, sensitizing them about the causes and preventive methods regarding CSA, and making them aware of the POSCO Act, which aims to protect children from sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography, and provide for the establishment of Special Courts for the trial of such offenses and matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no one “right” reaction and that all reactions and responses are normal, and the child will be looking for their caregiver for support. The central purpose of the Parents’ session under the SACRED Project is to relay the idea of acceptance, unconditional support, and patience through the cases of abuse that their children might face. We reiterate through these sessions that ‘responding’ to such an incident is more important than ‘reacting’ to it.

Developing Colouring Book for Children

While conducting on-ground sessions and addressing children and parents, the team identified a communication barrier due to various factors such as different literacy backgrounds, linguistic differences, etc. To overcome such challenges and make discussion around these topics more seamless and enjoyable, we have developed a coloring book, “My Body, My Right – मेरा शरीर, मेरा अधिकार” with the key objective of illustrating different day-to-day scenarios regarding Child Sexual Abuse, and methods to deal with them, such as reporting to an adult, going to the doctor and police, how to understand what is safe and unsafe touch, etc.

The book emphasizes the main objective of our sessions with all three primary stakeholders- that a child has absolute agency and right over their bodies. It is our main objective to instill confidence regarding bodily autonomy among children, and how to protect themselves from unpleasant scenarios. The coloring book has been developed, keeping in mind the needs and concerns of a diverse audience, and is one of our many efforts to help spread awareness about CSA across all walks of society, using minimal words and bright, colorful illustrations.

The coloring book has been illustrated by Siddhi Agrawal, and the first phase of this project is sponsored by IMBesharam and Amazon, along with individual donations. We invite you to take advantage of this program and join us in this mission of creating a safe and secure environment for our children and/or be a supporter of this cause by considering donating and sharing about this project. If you’d like to become a project partner or collaborate with us, please send us an email at


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