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Activists bemoan lack of laws to deal with child sexual abuse

Saturday, 13 November 2010 - 2:00am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
A welfare foundations held a workshop in the city on Friday to sensitise policemen about child sexual abuse.

As SPS Rathore, the molester of a minor who was driven to suicide following the abuse, got bail, welfare foundations held a workshop in the city on Friday to sensitise policemen about child sexual abuse.

The workshop was conducted by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development in collaboration with the Childline foundation. It saw participation from assistant commissioners of police, senior police inspectors, community police and members of the crime branch.

“With a rampant increase in the cases of child sexual abuse, this workshop is an attempt to sensitise policemen about the psychological, legal and medical aspects related to child sexual abuse, as they are the one who deal with such cases on a daily basis,” said Jojo Verghese, city coordinator, Childline.

A matter of serious concern is the weak judicial system in India. Ranjeet Chouguley, director of the Justice and Care organisation, spoke about the legal aspects of child sexual abuse. He pointed that no specialised legislation for child sexual abuse are yet in place.

Speaking with DNA, he said, “The Juvenile Justice Act is a welfare Act but does not look at the criminal aspects of putting perpetrators behind bars. As of now, for child sexual abuse cases, we need to rely on provisions of legislation meant for adults. This is really unfair. We are hoping to implement some concrete laws once the Child Protection Bill gets passed in the winter session.”

Neeta Athale, faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, talked about the psychological aspects of child sexual abuse. What is worrisome, she said, is that a large number of cases do not get reported. This is because in 75% cases, the person who subjects a child to abuse is a family member, relative or a person who holds a position of trust with the child.

Jaspal Singh Ragi, ACP of Meghavadi, who attended the workshop, said, “Child sexual abuse is a sin to humanity. Cases are on the rise, because the laws are weak and the perpetrators easily go scot-free.”

Talking about the workshop, he said, “This workshop was very useful and clarified a lot of doubts that we had. I would recommend this workshop to be conducted at zonal level with more officers participating.” Such awareness campaigns are a step forward to ensure a healthy and happy childhood.




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