New Delhi, May 16, 2017: A survey participated in by more than 45,000 children in the 12- 18 age group, across 26 states in the country, revealed that one in every two children is a victim of child sexual abuse.
The survey conducted by humanitarian aid organisation World Vision India with a sample of 45,844 respondents also revealed that one in every five do not feel safe because of the fear of being sexually abused.
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It also said that one in four families do not come forward to report child abuse.
“Despite one in every two children being a victim of child sexual abuse, there continues to be a huge silence. The magnitude of sexual violence against children is unknown,” World Vision India National Director Cherian Thomas said here while launching a campaign to end child sexual abuse and exploitation by 2021.
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The “It Takes the World to End Violence against Children” campaign targets 10 million children across 25 states and one union territory.
“The campaign works through our area programmes that deal with different issues of health care typically — malnutrition and early illness, education, child rights and protection and the improvement of resilience in communities,” Thomas told IANS.
“The area programmes are based in 186 districts that we operate in,” he added.
Thomas said that the campaign will draw people from all walks of life to ensure a safe environment for children.
Children are given training in different aspects, where they are taught about the good touch and the bad touch and various other relevant aspects, he said.
“With 98 per cent of rapes being committed by people known to the children, I feel it is time that we all come under one banner and umbrella to focus our work around child protection,” he said.
“We are going to work along with other civil society organisations, and child rights organisations. People are sensitized over the issue if economic resilience as most of these abuse cases are a result of inadequate economic resilience in communities,” he explained. (IANS)
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The number of uninsured children in the United States has increased for the first time in nearly a decade, placing it at 3.9 million in 2017, according to a report Thursday from Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families.
Nationally, the number of uninsured children increased by an estimated 276,000 in 2017, from a historic low of 4.7 percent in 2016 to 5 percent last year. Experts say about 75 percent of the newly uninsured children are clustered in states that did not expand Medicaid such as Florida, Texas and Georgia.
Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, Florida and other states could take federal funding to help pay for health coverage for nearly 900,000 people, but the Republican-led Legislature in Florida voted against it. The vast majority of states have already expanded Medicaid and increased the number of residents eligible for its coverage.
Joan Alker, executive director for Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families, has written the report for the last eight years and said she’s never seen the rates of uninsured children go up in all 50 states, which happened last year.
Better economy, low unemployment
She said that what is perhaps most concerning is that the uninsured rate among children increased despite an improving economy and low unemployment rate that allowed more children to get private coverage through their parents.
The study blamed the increases on the Trump administration’s repeated attempts to prompt an overhaul of publicly funded health care. There were major efforts to repeal Obama’s Affordable Care Act and cut Medicaid, and the children’s CHIP insurance funding also ran out and hung in the balance for months before Congress extended it.
“There was a lot of confusion among families as to whether these public coverage sources were available,” Alker said.
At the same time, the Trump administration slashed funding for advertising and enrollment counselors to help sign people up for these health insurance programs. The country’s enrollment decline was not just in Medicaid and CHIP, but also in Obamacare, or the federal marketplace where parents can purchase private health insurance and often receive a subsidy to help pay for it.
The report noted that many of the children who do not have health insurance are eligible for coverage but just aren’t enrolled.
‘More of a fluctuation’
Ed Haislmaier, a senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, said the figures were statistically insignificant.
He did agree that there were dips in Medicaid enrollment and through the Obamacare marketplace, but noted there’s no enrollment cutoff for Medicaid, meaning families can sign up their children year-round.
“It’s really more of a fluctuation. There’s no policy driver there,” he said, saying he didn’t think marketing cuts had any impact.
In Florida, the uninsured rate went from 288,000 in 2016 to 325,000 in 2017.
Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured residents in the country, and also has had the highest number of enrollees purchasing insurance through the Obamacare federal marketplace. However, Medicaid expansion in Florida is likely off the table for this upcoming legislative session. Incoming Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis, a Republican, is against it. His opponent, Democrat Andrew Gillum, campaigned heavily on his support to expand Medicaid coverage for more residents.
The report also expressed concern that strict immigration policies and enforcement were making many immigrant families leery of enrolling, even if their children were eligible for health coverage. “We think it’s really this national unwelcome mat regarding public coverage,” Alker said. (VOA)