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Here's how sexual harassment in educational institutions can be prevented

Updated: Sep 09, 2016 09:15 IST

New Delhi [India], Sept. 9 (ANI): Sexual harassment has been elevated to such an extent that even educational institutions are no safe place for girls and example to that are the much-talked about cases at Jadavpur University and Jawaharlal Nehru University.

In spite of various existing laws, these heinous crimes are still increasing day by day.

According to Kanishk Agarwal, advocate and founder of law firm CriTaxCorp, "The act of sexual harassment must be prevented before it occurs in an educational institute to safeguard the future of growing students. Sexual harassment can be prevented through setting up a feedback mechanism from the students and staff members. Parents can also play a crucial role in minimizing sexual harassment by keeping the channel of communication open with their children."

Hence, he proposed eight effective tips for educational institutes to prevent cases of sexual harassment and molestation.

Firstly, educational institute should form an internal complaint committee to look after the issues related to sexual harassment and molestation cases. An internal vigilance committee can be formed by selecting group of top management and representatives of the respective classes to ensure that student's actual voice can be addressed to this committee. The names of ICC members should be kept confidential to avoid abuse of power or reluctance amongst students to complaint actions on the recommendations made by ICC members should be taken by the institute seriously, whether the same relates to adopting measures to redress SH at educational institute or in regard to a complaint finding weather it is against a professor, student or dean.

Secondly, teachers or supervisors or student body representatives should take prompt action for any repeated sexual innuendo, obscene jokes and lewd remarks or whistling which is happening under their watch. One should not sit on information if tormenting matters to be taken into consideration.

Thirdly, faculties or supervisors should engage in an informal chat with the female of the organisation to understand if they are facing any such issues in the classes, campus or even outside campus. This can be done by forming small groups of 20-25 people for an open light hearted group discussion amongst the group of students.

Fourthly, to have a soft, healthy, sound soothing environment of studying, counselling sessions can be provided. The victim must not feel alienated in case she faces such an atrocious incident of SH. Adoption of a clear and effective policy that is devoted to sexual harassment should be formulated, which should comprise of Definition of SH, Types of SH and Forms of SH, investigation proceedings.

Fifthly, dean, senior professors and psychology teachers should be in students reach for open or closed discussion sessions. Also, these personnel should be highly sensitized about intricacies of SH because they are the first point of contact for any student to confront about any SH incident.

Sixthly, installing cameras within the premises is also one of the most effective ways to curb sexual harassment cases in educational institute. This will stop the students from being a part of sexual harassment, making abusive comments and social mockery of the incident.

Seventhly, parental involvement is critical to long-term behaviour modification. When harassment occurs, parents of victims and perpetrators need to be informed of the details so that the emotional and developmental needs of both parties can be addressed. Family involvement and possibly outside counselling may be needed to avoid long-term emotional damage and to modify inappropriate behaviour. Ignoring the situation can often lead to a cycle of ongoing harassment and victimization, hence parents should support their children if any such situation arises and should come upfront reporting the case.

Finally, the main aim is to sensitize individual to the methodology of the sexual harassment. Organization-awareness sessions among students are another solution to curb sexual harassment in an educational institute. If students complain of sexual harassment, proper protection from molester, counselling sessions support from the faculty is must. (ANI)

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