India leads world in child sexual abuse

India leads world in child sexual abuse
Participants along with the resource persons at the state level consultation on child sexual abuse.
Correspondent KOHIMA JUL 10 (NPN) | Publish Date: 7/10/2019 11:24:07 AM IST


India has the world’s highest incidences of child sexual abuse. And altogether 36,022 child abuse cases were registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2014-2016, with Nagaland having registered 29 cases.
World Vision India (WVI) senior director Dr Anjana Purkayastha shared these details at the State level consultation on “It takes Nagaland to End Child Sexual Abuse”, organised by social welfare department and Childline 1098 at Hotal Japfu here on Wednesday.
According to Purkayastha, every 1.55 minute, a child below the age of 16 years was raped in the country, adding cases registered under POCSO Act post 2014-2016 might have increased.
Mentioning that child abuse occurred at home, schools, workplaces and institutions and in the community, she warned that such abuses during childhood had an adverse impact when a child grew up as an adult. Purkayastha said WVI wanted to reach the grassroots level and positively impact lives of 10 million most vulnerable girls and boys by 2021 to end child sex abuse. To achieve this target, she said awareness campaigns should be carried out within the communities, implementation of effective laws and policies strengthened and functioning of child protection system ensured by 2021.
In his address, school education principal director Shanavas C remarked that while the number of cases registered under POCSO Act was high, there were also many cases that went unreported. He mentioned that child sexual abuses occurred in Nagaland too, but many such cases went reported because of pressure from family members and relatives.
He pointed out that as Nagaland had special provision under the Constitution of India, many such cases were settled under customary laws, which was unfortunate. He said in such matters, the customary laws and the relevant laws of the land must be combined for ensuring stringent punishment to the perpetrators. 
Shanavas emphasised that the campaign against child sexual abuse should reach the remotest corners of the State, adding that pamphlets and brochures should be printed in local dialects to make the villagers understand better about the gravity of the crime. 
They should be taught to realise that the issue was too serious and could not be settled by paying fines with pigs or hens alone, he added. “Else, the heinous crime will continue to recur,” he warned.  
The principal director also appealed to the church leaders to raise this issue in the church platform and educate the children, while assuring to extend all possible support from the department.
Speaking on the occasion, Nagaland State Legal Services Authority (NSLSA) member secretary Longshithung Ezung remarked that incidences of child abuse in the State were growing at an alarming rate. He said Childline Dimapur, after its establishment in 2011, had intervened in 1,457 cases pertaining to various “child protection risk areas”, including abuse, trafficking, child labour, missing, emotional support and guidance and various other distress situations experienced by children.
Mentioning that exploitation of children for domestic work was a matter of great concern, Ezung said children working in various homes had to undergo all kinds of abuses and rights violations due to ignorance of the children and their families. He said the only way to prevent these abusive incidents was to create awareness about the rights of the child.
As children were the most vulnerable group in the society, he said the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 had enlisted children as “Persons Entitled to Free Legal Services”.
And when a child was abused, NSLSA member secretary said it was entitled to receive compensation under the Nagaland Victim Compensation Scheme, 2012 like Rs 2,00,000 for loss of life, Rs 1,00,000 for rape, Rs 50,000 for rehabilitation, Rs 1,00,000 for trafficking and Rs 20,000 for injury.
Pointing out that that NSLSA alone could not prevent incidents of child abuse, he appealed to everyone to take the responsibility with all seriousness.
In her brief address, Nagaland Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson N Awan Konyak thanked WVI, social welfare department, Childline, NGOs from different districts and all the stakeholders involved for their unwavering effort to end child sexual abuse in the State.
She also administered a pledge to the gathering to end child sexual abuse.

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