Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 62  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 404-413

Children on the brink: Risks for child protection, sexual abuse, and related mental health problems in the COVID-19 pandemic


Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Shekhar Seshadri
Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_1032_20

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In developing contexts such as India, children in adversity form a high-risk group, one that cannot be subsumed under the general category of children, who are generally considered as a vulnerable group in disaster and crisis situations. Child mental health issues in contexts of protection risks and childhood adversity tend to be over-looked in such crises. This article focuses on examining the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and its socio-economic consequences on children in adversity, describing the increased child protection and psychosocial risks they are placed at, during and in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis and its lockdown situation. It specifically links the lockdown and the ensuing economic issues to sexuality and abuse-related risks, as occur in contexts of child labour, child sex work and trafficking, child marriage and child sexual abuse, and that result in immediate and long-term mental health problems in children. It proposes a disaster risk reduction lens to offer recommendations to address the emerging child protection, psychosocial and mental health concerns.



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