“Creating awareness, social change, education and prevention of child sex abuse (CSA) in Sri Lanka and the BAME communities in the UK: The use of Protective Behaviors, Buddhist and Secular Mindfulness, and NLP”
“The role of teachers in creating awareness around Child Sex Abuse from the perspective of Sri Lanka and BAME community in the UK.”
It is widely recognized that child sexual abuse occurs in almost every country worldwide. However, it is difficult to estimate the real scale of the problem. The majority of the cases involving child sexual abuse (CSA) is never reported and never comes into the attention of the authorities. The challenge is further exacerbated by the aspect of culture, which is reflected in the BAME and the Sri Lankan communities in the UK. Self-report surveys tend to provide an accurate measure of the prevalence of CSA in such communities (Stoltenborgh et al. 2011, 81).
In this context, sexual abuse refers to inappropriate adult sexual behavior with children. It entails exposure to pornography, sexual exploitation, rape, incest, fondling children’s genitals, and intercourse. Few studies are available that detail the prevalence of Child Sex Abuse in the context of humanitarian crises (Spangaro et al., 2013, 10). In addition, there is a challenge in identifying and involving children impacted in surveys in such conditions.
Most of the estimates on Child Sex Abuse prevalence rely on reported incidents and information from agencies. This highlights the increased need for awareness, social change, and prevention of CSA in specific communities such as Sri Lankans and BAME as the awareness and empowerment with knowledgeable understating is lacking and not illuminate as a part of formal education and faith-based education.
National Child Protection Authority (NCPA)
The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) in Sri Lanka has been reported to experiencing a Child Sex Abuse crisis over the recent past. Scholars fear that a majority of the CSA case go unreported (Spangaro et al. 2013, 10). The claims that get reported also tend to go unresolved. For example, 9200 CSA cases were reported, while only 3800 of these cases were resolved. Therefore only about 40 % of the cases were reported. In the UK, 90 percent of the cases reported were carried out by people well known to the victim. The majority of the offender was said to be men.
In the year 2018, it is about 2083 cases reported, the majority of which were resolved. The Child Exploitation and Online Protective Center (CEOP) says that 61 percent of these alleged victims were White, 3 percent were Asian, and 1 percent were unknown. This figure fails to present the whole picture since many of the BAME victims of sexual abuse may go unrecognized by the statutory services, thus may go underestimated (Stoltenborgh et al. 2011, 78).
Religion plays a central role in the Sri Lankan way of living. It is estimated that 70 percent of Sri Lankan are Theravada Buddhists, 12.6 percent are Hindu, 9.7 percent are Muslim, and 7 % are Christian. Polls have shown that 99 percent of individuals in Sri Lanka have a deep respect for religion. Therefore, these statistics indicate that the Sri Lankan population is very religious in general (Vaughn 2018, 450).
The United Kingdom, on the other hand, has been dominated by Christianity for more than a millennium now. It is estimated that 53.6 percent of the United Kingdom population is Christian, 30 percent of Agnostic, 10 percent is Atheist, and 6.2 percent consists of Islam and other religions. This fact indicates that the UK is more diverse in terms of religion. The BAME community in the UK however, composted of people with Asian and African descent. These groups have been influenced by religion fairly in the recent past.
Engagement in religious practices provides a set of decision tools. It is known to affect one’s ability to question people with authority or influence. This fact has played a significant role in the many child sex abuse occurrences in Sri Lankan and the BAME communities in the United Kingdom. In recent history, a there Buddhist monk has been convicted of Child Sex Abuse. Children are more likely to suffer in the hands of family members who they “trust” (Radford et al., 2015, 73).
People in Sri Lanka and the BAME community in the UK have a more closely-knit social fabric. They mostly live in extended families. This is mainly due to their religious background, which mostly champions for comradely and trust. Given that majority of their Child Sex Abuse offenders are people who are well known to the victim, many children get exposed to predatory relatives and religious leaders (Vaughn 2018, 450). This has significantly contributed to the high number of CSA case in these communities.
It is of paramount interest that the BAME community in the UK is hugely composed of immigrants and refugees from Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. This fact makes them very vulnerable to social evils since they may not be well aware of most cases; they fear law enforcement authorities. The child of a minority here in the UK reports to their parent that they suffered sexual abuse from their parents. If these parents are illegal immigrants in the UK, they may fail to report to the relevant authorities with fears of being deported.
The Sri Lankan population in the UK is not widely recognized even in the health studies and not captured in the census’ ethnic questions. Moreover, this occurs even as the Sri-Lankan-born community comprises 127 242 migrants enumerated in 2011 in Wales and England (Aspinall, 2019, 51). Reports on sexual abuse is on the rise in Sri Lanka, with about 1500 cases reported annually (Sathiadas et al., 2018, 152). However, the number is less given the case of underreporting.
Sociocultural impacts of Child Sex Abuse
Sociocultural impacts make reporting such incidences difficult, as victims get alienated, thus making them not report the cases. Primary caretakers in Asian nations are less likely to report abuse cases compared to other caretakers. Furthermore, the majority of the primary caretakers from Asia never believed in child abuse. Thus, children avoid self-reporting to the carer (Sathiadas et al., 2018, 152). There is a higher likelihood that the culture is also reflected in the UK, which makes intervention a necessity involving the use of protective behaviors, mindfulness, and NLP.
The Sri Lankan population in the UK is not widely recognized even in the health studies, as well as not captured in the census’ ethnic questions. Moreover, this occurs even as the Sri-Lankan-born community comprises 127, 242 migrants enumerated in 2011 in Wales and England (Aspinall, 2019, 51). Reports on sexual abuse is on the rise in Sri Lanka, with about 1500 cases reported annually (Sathiadas et al., 2018, 152). However, the number is less given the case of underreporting. Sociocultural impacts make reporting such incidences difficult, as victims get alienated, thus making them not report the cases.
Primary caretakers in Asian nations are less likely to report abuse cases compared to other caretakers. Furthermore, the majority of the primary caretakers from Asia never believed in child abuse. Thus, children avoid self-reporting to the carer (Sathiadas et al., 2018, 152). There is a higher likelihood that the culture is also reflected in the UK, which makes intervention a necessity involving the use of protective behaviors, mindfulness, and NLP.
Despite the measure of Child Sex Abuse being unclear, the crime figures in Britain indicate that 46, 947 were sexual offenses committed against children (Gill & Harrison 2019, 512). The crime data underestimates the scale of the primary issue, which is compounded in the South Asian population. Data on CSA in these communities remains limited. Therefore, the effective prevention of Child Sex Abuse in British Sri-Lankan and BAME communities depends on addressing cultural aspects that promote them. A multi-layered approach, integrated approach will help prevent cases of child abuse in these communities.
Mindfulness, NLP, and Protective Behaviors
It includes the application of mindfulness, NLP, and protective behaviors in programs within the UK and Sri Lanka that target the educators, faith-based community leaders, and social workers. Due to the extent of the problem in these communities, more awareness and education of Child Sex Abuse should be widely shared across the BAME community.
Programs and workshops aimed at offering education and awareness campaigns within schools and the community should involve a consideration of the cultural aspect. Culture plays a key role in fueling the problem. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that measures are aimed at the communities’ culture to address CSA challenges. Protective factors are also factors that help prevent the negative impacts of Child Sex Abuse on children.
Some protective factors involve a general outlook of child maltreatment based on several child protection publications. Some of the protective factors include active coping styles, personality factors, secure attachment to an adult family member, supportive family environment, social cohesion in the community, and implementation of children’s rights. Actions taken to prevent Child Sex Abuse must get based on a review of evidence-based on protective factors, consequences, and prevalence (Radford et al., 2015, 38).
The suitable approach taken by the study involved protection responses aimed at identifying the at-risk children and taking action to prevent further harm. This involves the organization of workshops and programs whose practices involve taking steps to make children safe through the engagement of a developed program and the use of a training manual that helps inform community and faith based leaders, teachers, and children on dangers posed by close relatives and others.
There are several approaches that comprise the protective elements that can be taken to address and prevent CAS. Such approaches can help inform the course of programs and workshops that help create awareness, educate and prevent the prevalence of CAS among the Sri Lankan communities and BAME communities. Other initiatives have also taken steps in addressing the issue by introducing programs aimed at the communities. For instance, the RuRi foundation is one of the initiatives running in Sri Lanka but established in the UK.
The foundation’s mission is to increase awareness, educate and prevent child sex abuse within the British Asian communities by undertaking a series of programs abroad and in the UK. Increasing awareness and educating the targeted communities must involve the creation of programs that directly impact the identified populations. Such targeted interventions can be achieved by way of protective behaviors, mindfulness, and NLP workshops in Sri Lanka.
Apart from only designing the workshops, there must be specific locations identified to implement prevention services. The workshops should target educational institutions and faith-based communities. The faith-based communities can be targeted in the UK through faith leaders. Also, schools are a good avenue, where teacher training will get conducted since the program will get added in the curriculum. For instance, getting children involved offers a great way to teach protective behaviors.
Schools provide the best destination for both collections of data about the problem and the effectiveness of the approach. Enabling children to protect themselves has, in the past, garnered more attention in the recent past. An example involves Save the Children Alliance work in Afghanistan, where the children also took part in developing broader child protection steps (Radford et al., 2015, 75).
Child protection monitoring tools got developed for children to record protection incidents and assist in identifying and planning protective actions despite the lack of information concerning their impact (Frederick, 2010, 9). Also, free child-friendly telephone services and child lines are tools that can assist.
The helplines provide easy access through mobile phones, as well as web-based services. They are increasingly becoming global despite the inconsistency in services offered. Involving children in efforts to prevent Child Sex Abuse can deepen their understanding of the issue and inspire the need for change.
Additionally, the workshops can target school staff to help forge protective behaviors. The information presented can entail school-based prevention and empowerment programs that touch on sexual abuse. Initiatives can incorporate messages of putting an end to sexual violence in their overall programmatic goal. This promotes self-reflection. Also, the community can learn and transform their notions about Child Sex Abuse and attitudes toward violence and prevention.
Some settings that do not allow discussion of sensitive subjects such as abuse of girls should require the introduction of themes that help in addressing forms of sexual abuse and act as entry points (UNICEF, 2016, 55).Besides protective behaviors, the use of NLP and mindfulness are other options that offer alternative means of preventing Child Sex Abuse . NLP involves changing one’s thoughts and behaviors that can change and inform on the desired outcomes.
NLP applies the use of communication, behavioral, and perceptual methods to make it simple for individuals to change their thoughts and actions. The purpose of this program involves empowering children to understand that they should always know and recite the statement, “My body is mine. You cannot touch me without my permission and understanding. “Another purpose involves protecting Child Sex Abuse from young age by ensuring every child possesses the power, knowledge, and techniques to be empowered. It can get done through mindfulness and meditation, as well as through the NLP techniques.
On the other hand, mindfulness can help address this issue in a very calmly manner. Mindfulness training involves sexual misconduct. The training helps eliminate unconscious participation in a rape culture, as well as misogyny that may pervade a culture. Additionally, the training can help cultivate responsibility and learning means of protecting the safety, as well as the integrity of children from sexual abuse.
In conclusion, the use of protective behaviors, mindfulness, and NLP are all approaches that promise to address the prevalence of child sexual abuse among the BAME, Faith based and Sri-Lankan communities. Designing programs and workshops that inculcate such elements would yield positive results for the affected communities and the victims. Data is crucial in such interventions. Therefore, the lack of data on reported cases and the effectiveness of protective factors may limit the development of such knowledge building and manuals. However, the involvement of other organizations in Sri Lankan communities may outweigh the limitations.
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