ALAPPUZHA: Cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in the state have seen a steady increase, though the conviction rate remains dismal.
According to the latest police data available on its website, it had registered 2,514 cases till September this year while it was 2,275 in the same period last year.
The trend is alarming, and it reflects on the public outrage over the acquittals in the serial rape and murder of minor siblings in Walayar.
Despite sensitisation programmes of Child Welfare Committees and ChildLine, many cases still go unreported as parents are unwilling.
Malappuram, the most-populated district, topped the list with 342 cases, followed by the second-most populated Thiruvananthapuram (308).
Child rights activists say people are increasingly indulging in incestuous activities and only a few parents or victims are seeking a solution.
Concerned over the low conviction rate, the Kerala State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (KeSCPCR) had two years ago attempted to strengthen child welfare committees for speedy disposal of POCSO cases. But it failed.
Over 5,600 cases are still pending trial in various courts, the KeSCPCR data reveals. From November 2012 to December 2015, they disposed of only 7 per cent of them.
In 2016, there were 4,025 arrests in 2,122 cases, a sharp increase from 2,714 arrests in 2391 cases in 2015.
The conviction rate stands at a mere 20 per cent. Only 53 were convicted in 261 cases.
The verdict came only in 530 POCSO cases tried between 2013 and 2016. Only 70 cases had gone in favour of the abused children, with hardly 15 per cent getting convicted.