Sexual abuse of children in Hyderabad schools on the rise

Hyderabad: Children are becoming victims of sexual abuse in educational institutions, both government and private schools, as a consequence of lax law enforcement.

In a recent case, Naga Madhu, a child helpline team member working with Divya Disha, a non-governmental organisation that works to protect children’s rights, stated that 4 to 6 girls were rescued less than a month ago from a government school in Secunderabad who were being sexually abused by their teacher.

“The teacher was touching the girls inappropriately and the girls reached out to the child helpline a few days later,” Madhu explained.

Several similar cases have occurred in the past too. However, since the first outbreak of the Covid, child sexual abuse cases have increased in the city, state officials said.

Both male and female teachers abuse their students, but male teachers are slightly more common, according to the Divya Disha director, Isidore Phillips. The majority of cases are reported by the victim's friends, family, or anganwadi workers.

According to the child helpline, school authorities, whether private or government, frequently try to settle the case by blaming the victim, refusing to accept the crime, blackmailing the children and parents, particularly those from low-income families, negotiating with bribes, or simply suspending the teacher in order to absolve the school of responsibility.

While it takes at least a year for government school officials to suspend the accused teacher, private schools suspend in no time.

“The number of sexual abuse cases in government schools is slightly higher. Boys are victims as well, but they rarely speak up because society laughs at boys and considers them weak when they are in trouble,” Phillips added.
The organisation also stated that there is a little support from government and society. “Other than compensation, we don’t see much else given to the child.”
When asked about the action taken against teachers in such cases, D. Divya, commissioner of Women Development and Child Welfare Department, said, “Each case is different. As a result, I am unable to comment broadly."
She also said that police-run Bharosa centre and funded by Women and Child Welfare Department, is a specialised facility for POCSO and the rape victims/survivors.

According to A. Rao, Hyderabad District Welfare Officer, the department provides compensation of `1 lakh in installments to victims of the POCSO cases, as well as shelter if the victim’s parents are unable to provide.

They provide education as needed, identify hotspots, and develop various awareness campaigns.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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