Hyderabad: Every second child between 12 to 18 years of age in India suffers some form of sexual harassment, according to a survey by World Vision India, a humanitarian organisation. Some 45,844 children from different parts of the country responded to the survey, whose findings are alarming.
The survey revealed that one in five children is vulnerable to sexual harassment and one in every four families did not complain about sexual abuse of the child. Every day two or three incidents of child sexual abuse are reported. The perpetrators are people known to the child such as relatives, neighbours, teachers, watchmen and drivers. There is an increase in cases pertaining to sexual assault and sexual harassment registered in the state under different sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (PoCSO) Act. Is this Telangana?.
The number of sexual assault cases registered in 2015 was 671, which increased to 819 in 2016, and in less than three months this year, 84 cases have been registered.
More disturbing is the fact that these figures might not be revealing the actual situation since many cases go unreported.There is a common misconception that children from well-to-do families are immune to sexual abuse. Gender, education and income do not provide any security against this crime for them. In a majority of cases, the suspect is known to the child. Identifying the abuser, who may be close to the family or a part of the family, is often a hard task.
Many children face sexual violence from persons related to them, and so do not share their trauma with anyone else. “Alerting children against strangers is easy, but how to make them watch out for abusers within the family? At some point of time, one out of every two children in India faces sexual exploitation” said Achyuta Rao, honorary president of Balala Hakkula Sangham, a Hyderabad-based NGO that works to protect children
A great deal needs to be done to improve the manner in which the police and courts handle cases of child abuse. The child, already traumatised, is exposed to the public while questioning at police stations which adds to the trauma, Mr Rao says.
“Victims and their families are called to the police station and the victims are taken there in police vehicles, which is not allowed. The two finger test is still in vogue even though it is banned. A sexual abuse victim is eligible for compensation which is not being given by the concerned authority,” Mr Rao said.