India: India Child Abuse Humiliated – Human Rights Watch
Child Sexual Abuse is ‘disturbingly common’ in homes, schools and residential; care facilities in India, says the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report - Breaking the Silence: Child Sexual Abuse in India – released in the Indian capital, Delhi, on 7th Feb, 2013. The report cited the recent fatal gang-rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus in December, an attack that shook the conscience of the nation and forced people to introspect on the way women are treated in India.
The report urges the government to ensure rigorous implementation of child protection laws and strict monitoring of child care facilities.”Shockingly the very institutions that should protect vulnerable children can place them at risk of horrific child sexual abuse,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW’s South Asia director.
“When the caretaker himself is the abuser, the situation is especially traumatic because then the child has nowhere to go” – Anuja Gupta, RAHI
The report says that many children are “mistreated a second time by traumatic medical examinations and by police and other authorities who do not want to hear or believe their accounts”. This accounts for unreported abuse due to social stigma and a lack of the faith in the government.
It says that government efforts to tackle the problem, including new legislation to protect children from sexual abuse, will also fail “unless protection mechanisms are properly implemented and the justice system reformed to ensure that abuse is reported and fully prosecuted”.
A government study in 2007 reported that two out of every three children in India were physically abused and that 53% of the nearly 12,300 surveyed children reported one or more forms of sexual abuse.
In May last year, India’s parliament passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act which, for the first time ever in the country, made all forms of child sexual abuse a criminal offence. The report suggested that the National Commission for the Protection of Children’s Rights should be given adequate resources to monitor the effectiveness of the Act and should have appointed NCPCR experts to conduct independent investigations.
One of the key recommendations by the report is an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act to require registration and the maintenance of the specific standards by children’s residential care institutions. Each state should conduct a survey of all residential care facilities and provide this information to the district Child Welfare Committees.
Human Rights Watch has urged the government to provide training and resources to ensure that police, doctors, court officials, and government and private social workers responded properly in the cases of child sexual abuse.
Reference: BBC news