Wednesday, September 29, 2021
HomeOpinionDiarySave our childhood, save our innocence

Save our childhood, save our innocence

It is not that there is a sudden increase in crime against children but the reality is that such cases are being reported more now as people are coming out and speaking about it. Depressingly, sexual abuse is only part of a wider gamut of violence. It clearly shows that crimes against children tend to be local crimes with the vast majority taking place within the home or family circle.Trafficking of minor boys and girls has also increased; these children are trafficked for labour, begging as well as sexual abuse. Children have always been a soft target both because at times they are not much aware of the fact that what is happening to them is wrong. If at all they are aware of it, then they are scared to speak about it. What we need is right from early childhood, kids should be taught about the sensitive issues and the lawmakers too should enact and follow strict laws to curb this menace and keep the kids safe. Weak legal system is yet another lacuna which adds to the menace.

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012 has guidelines to deal with each case. But a lot of cases are settled quietly and that is extremely dangerous. In 2007, the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development released the thoughtful and terrifying — Study on Child Abuse in India. More than 12,000 children were polled to arrive at an empirical picture of the scale of beatings and sexual crimes that Indian children endure. Popular wisdom holds that sexual abuse takes place when children are in environments outside the supposedly safe confines of their homes and schools. Boys in all 4 states in particular viz. Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Goa — were found to be more at risk of sexual abuse. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012 has guidelines to deal with each case. But a lot of cases are settled quietly and that is extremely dangerous.

Children either don’t report the cases, or the cases are hushed up even if they do report them. The police should not be the only agency that deals with children who have been abused. There should be a team of specialised child psychiatrists and other child care professionals who can ensure continued support to the child. When a case of child abuse is reported, hardly any support is offered to the child and the family to get their lives back on track. When children take the extremely difficult step of reporting abuse we need to ensure they are properly supported and get the help they need when they are brave enough to give evidence in court. The urgent need of the hour is enactment of laws providing for stringent punishment for the perpetrators of crime against children, and their implementation. The police should not be the only agency that deals with children who have been abused. There should be a team of specialised child psychiatrists and other child care professionals who can ensure continued support to the child. Don’t we think everyone should break our silence to save the innocence of children?

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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