22 November, 2023: To mark the Child Safety Week 2023, observed from 14 November to 20 November 2023, Arpan and Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) have joined hands. The objective of this collaboration is to increase the awareness about Child Sexual Abuse on public transports and creates safer environments for children during their daily trips.
Child Sexual Abuse is a matter of grave concern that requires close attention. Going by the data released from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2021 170 CSA cases are recorded daily, with 7 cases reported per hour. Arpan and BEST have united to address the rise in incidents of Child Sexual Abuse and aim to enhance the safety of Mumbai’s public transport systems for children.
Arpan has put up informative posters that depict safe and unsafe touches in the BEST buses which will be crucial in spreading awareness and education regarding prevention from CSA.
Pooja Taparia, Founder and CEO of Arpan, said that as part of the shared commitment to protect children from sexual abuse Arpan and BEST have collaborated with a sense of purpose focussed on a common goal. Every child has the right to be safe and adults have the power to prevent CSA. Adults can remain vigilant and teach children the difference between safe an unsafe touch. Arpan will also conduct training programmes for the BEST staff. These training programmes will create awareness about child abuse and train the staff with the skills and knowledge that are needed to handle this sensitively.
Informative posters inside BEST depots and buses have also been placed by Arpan. This will facilitate a collective responsibility and adults too will know how to safeguard the children during commutes.
Commenting on the collaboration with Arpan, General Manager BEST Vijay Singhal mentioned that this was just not a collaboration but a promise to the people of Mumbai, since passengers trust them and they take their responsibility seriously. He added that they were committed towards making the journey on BEST buses a safe and secure experience particularly for the youngest riders.
Ku. Aditi Varda Sunil Tatkare, Women and Child Development Minister, Government of Maharashtra, applauded this initiative and the joint efforts of BEST and Arpan in addressing the critical issue of child abuse on public transport.