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Monday, June 7, 2010

Edition 21: 20,000 Cries Per Month For Help!

While Pune is making stride in every direction, one area where the progress is worrisome is the child abuse. The cultural capital of the Mahrashtra is fast becoming a hotspot for the crimes against the children. The trend is corborated by the statistics.

India's biggest child rights helpline, Childline India gets almost 23,000 calls per month from the hapless children or people who notice them. This is a quantum jump of seven fold within three years as the same helpline used to receive 4,000 calls on a monthly average in 2007.

According to Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, founder-director, Pune Childline, “Pune is way ahead of other cities in terms of calls. At our review meet, it was observed that many of the other cities don't even get more than 5,000 calls. More cases are being reported in the Maharashtra and that too in Pune.”

The helpline is active in 83 cities and coordinators say that Maharashtra logs the maximum number of calls.

Sahasrabuddhe said, "The perpetrators of abuse in most cases were members of the family-including fathers, uncles and grandparents. To encounter this, children should be given age-specific sex education and rapport building between parents and children.”

The helpline run with the support from Karve Institute of Social Sciences, is a project of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

While the total number of received calls between April 2009 and Feb 2010 amount to 2,03,763. Another area of concern is the number of calls from lonely children. In the last one year, "About 15,000 Children under this category called us to share routine, day-day to information with us-suggesting a high degree of loneliness and lack of time with parents," said Sahasrabuddhe.

The Horror Figures
The gravity of situation can be judged by the statistics available with the Crime Investigation Department of Maharashtra. In its latest report about the crime in year 2008, the CID has given this statistics in Maharashtra.
• Incidences of child rape grew by 12.20% compared to year 2007 while 8.83% compared to 2004. The total number of crimes recorded were 690.
• Kidnapping and abduction grew by 57.37% compared to 2004 while it grew 1.36% compared to 2007. The total number of incidences were 598.
• Compared to 2004, buying of minor girls for prostitution grew by 127.27% while it fell by 19.35% compared to 2007. A total of 25 such incidents were reported during the year among which 22 were from Pune alone.
• Of the 690 child rape cases in the year, 118 involved girls of age group 118 and 576 of age group 576. The share of such cases to the total rape cases was whooping 44.49%. Pune recorded 55 of these cases which 8% of total crimes committed against children.
• Numerically Mumbai, Pune, Pune Rural 43, Thane, Nagpur 37 reported a significantly large number of child girl rape cases. The above 5 units together
• contributed 38.7% of all child girl rape cases in age group under 10 years, in the State in the year 2008.

What Constitutes Abuse?
As per the definition given by World Health Organization (W.H.O.), “child abuse” includes all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power. Child abuse is categorized under four main forms – physical, sexual, emotional and neglect and is a global phenomenon. Child Protection is a term that describes policies, standards, systems, programmes, guidelines and procedures that seek to protect children from harm which can be physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual or any form of neglect. Harm can be caused by primary or secondary caretakers, aid workers and others who come into contact with children in their line of work.

Child sexual abuse in India
Sexual abuse is any kind of unwanted or forced sexual behavior. It includes rape, sodomy, harassment and eve teasing. Sexual violence against children is most commonly perpetrated by someone known to the child, but assaults by strangers in the community happen as well.
- An estimated 150 million girls and 73 million boys under 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence during 2002.
- India has the world’s largest number of sexually abused children, with a child below 16 years raped every 155th minute, a child below 10 every 13th hour and one in every 10 children sexually abused at any point of time.
Major findings on sexual abuse in India (from the Study. Child Abuse. India. 2007):
- 53.22% children reported having faced one of more forms of sexual abuse.
- 21.90% child respondents facing severe forms of sexual abuse and 50.76% other forms of sexual abuse.
- 50% abuses are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility.
- Children on street, children at work and children in institutional care reported the highest incidence of sexual assault.
- Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse among both boys and girls.
- Most Children did not report the matter to anyone.
- According to a recent estimate by the ILO, of the 1.39 million people worldwide who are involved in forced commercial sexual exploitation, 40 to 50 % are children.
- From 28,000 to 30,000 children under the age of 18, approximately half of them 10–14 years old, are used in prostitution in South Africa.
- An estimated 12,000 Nepalese children, mainly girls, are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation each year within Nepal or to brothels in India and other countries.
(Courtesy: Childline India)
CHILDLINE 1098 service is a 24 hour free emergency phone outreach service for children in need of care and protection. CIF undertakes replication of CHILDLINE, networking and facilitation, training, research and documentation, and Communications and Strategic Initiatives both at the national and international level. This is a project supported by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development and linking state Governments, NGOs, bilateral /multilateral agencies and corporate sector .

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