The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that they do not fully comprehend, are unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society. CSA can happen anywhere, and across all segments of society. A child may be subjected to exploitation or sexual abuse at home, at school, or in their community. When a child is sexually abused, they are tricked or forced into sexual activities. They may not understand what is being done to them or that it is wrong. And they might be afraid to tell anyone. It is never a child’s fault that they were sexually abused – it is important we make sure they understand this.
Arpan is one of the largest organisations in India committed to preventing and eliminating child sexual abuse and supporting the rehabilitation and healing of survivors dealing with trauma. Based in Mumbai, Arpan uses advocacy and research to push for systemic change at the local, state, and national levels. Since its inception, Arpan has impacted over 1.6 million children and adults. The scale of Arpan’s operations includes engagement with multiple stakeholders — children, parents, teachers, schools, adult survivors, NGOs, social workers, counsellors and government officers. iProbono has provided transactional legal support to maintain and develop these partnerships since 2019.
“We work on a sensitive issue, and look at building partnerships with network organisations. Knowing that we can turn to iProbono for any legal support has been invaluable. We look forward to our continued association with iProbono.”
Sharalene Moonjely, Director – Public Engagement & Digital Learning, Arpan.
iProbono is currently supporting Arpan’s client on a litigation matter. Lawyers from the Mahindra Group Legal team have also provided transactional support on 10 projects, ranging from reviewing and drafting third-party MOUs to advice on copyrights and filing trademarks, from translating legal clauses, to checking compliance needs for several of Arpan’s initiatives.
You can find out more about the projects below —
- Review of contracts: One of our first projects with Arpan was the review of two contracts, a Memorandum of Understanding to include Arpan’s e-learning modules in a school’s curriculum, and an agreement to distribute Arpan’s resources. In August 2019, Aaditi Tejuja from the Mahindra Group Legal drafted these documents and helped Arpan in these engagements.
- Drafting of a licensing agreement: In October 2020, Arpan partnered with an organisation in Guatemala to translate Arpan’s content into Spanish and other local languages for dissemination in their country. Our community lawyers Abhilasha Nautiyal and Kruttika Vijay from Ira law drafted a licensing agreement for this purpose within a tight deadline of seven days.
- Protecting the privacy of children: To commemorate Child Safety Week in November 2019, Arpan looked at partnerships with different organisations and iProbono’s community lawyer Christina Bulley vetted the privacy policies of a social media organisation and flagged issues for Arpan to be cautious of. This enabled Arpan to be more prudent in their partnerships.
- Registering copyrights: Arpan produces a series of publications on Personal Safety Education (PSE) for children. Our community lawyers, Shipra Shandilya and Awanika Anand from our partner law firm, Fidus Law Chambers registered 22 pro bono copyrights for Arpan within a span of one year starting from February 2020 to February 2021, thereby securing their intellectual property rights.
- Litigation support: iProbono panel advocates Mohammed Altaf Khan and Supriya Juneja are providing direct litigation support to a survivor of child sexual abuse. This case was referred to us by Arpan in October 2020.
- Partnership agreements: Panel lawyers have drafted and advised Arpan on numerous partnership agreements that have enabled them to forge impactful collaborations.
- Disclaimer clause: In December 2020, Arpan approached us for assistance in drafting disclaimer clauses for them. Our network lawyers Aaditi Tejuja and Krutika Swamy from Mahindra and Mahindra have drafted the disclaimer clauses for Arpan in English and Marathi. This has helped Arpan circulate its content to a larger network with reduced liabilities.
- Drafting of a consultancy agreement: Aaditi from Mahindra and Mahindra also drafted a consultancy agreement for Arpan in April 2021.
- Review of indemnification agreement: In May 2021, Arpan approached us for review of an indemnification agreement. Aaditi Tejuja from Mahindra’s legal team assisted Arpan in reviewing this agreement.
According to Sharalene, “It has been fabulous working with iProbono and their volunteer lawyers. They are extremely professional and always ready to support.”
Photo credit: Arpan