1575 Children Residing In Shelter Homes Were Victims Of Some Form Of Sexual Abuse: Govt Tells SC
The Centre on August 14 told the Supreme Court that a survey of 9,589 child care institutions across India revealed that 1,575 inmates suffered sexual abuse and exploitation before they were rescued and placed in these homes. Reportedly, 189 inmates were victims of child pornography as well.
According to the Times Of India, the government to a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur, said, “Information regarding registration of cases under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act, 2012, has been collected. The number of children found to be victims of sexual abuse is 1,575 (girls-1,286 and boys-286) and victims of pornography to be 189 (girls-40 and boys-149).”
What does the report on Child Care Institutions state?
Appearing for the Centre, Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand told the apex court that the study was conducted between December 2015 to March 2017, the reports of which have been submitted to the Union Ministry of social justice. According to The Hindu, the survey was conducted by Childline India Foundation, the reports of which were sent to the states concerned. The report also found out that Karnataka, Telangana and Chhattisgarh have the highest rate of child pornography victims in the country.
The survey in order to make the report studied various categories of children which included orphans, abandoned, sexually abused, victims of child pornography, minors who were trafficked for domestic violence as well as those affected by natural disasters or even HIV and AIDS.
The report also found that the total number of children found to be in need of care and protection was 3,68,267 out of which 1,98,449 were boys, 1,69,726 were girls and 92 were transgenders. Anand also said that a national social audit of child care homes is being conducted which is set to be completed in October 2018, while 3500 shelter homes for children has already been audited. It also gave a list of both registered and unregistered child care institutions under the Juvenile Justice Act 2015. It further mentioned that there are 33% unregistered child care institutions in India.
Judges question ASG
Questioning the ASG, Justice Madan B. Lokur said, “What have you done about these kids? If there are 1,575 boys and girls who suffered sexual abuse, what have you done?” The bench also said that the audit should not only be about collecting data but an “active evaluation” of the children’s conditions in these institutions.
According to The Hindu, Justice Deepak Gupta, who was one of the three judges, said, “Talk to the children. See if they are happy or unhappy.”
The Supreme Court earlier on August 7 had observed that women and girls were getting raped “left right and centre” in India and had also stressed upon the fact that action needs to be taken to stop the menace. Reportedly, it had also held the Bihar state government accountable for funding Balika Grih without verifying its credentials.
The Muzaffarpur shelter case
In July 2018, it was revealed that 34 girls in a state-run shelter home in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur were subjected to continued rape, torture and assault by the staff of the shelter home. One victim, who was rescued, claimed that most of the girls who were residing there were raped by the journalist/owner Brajesh Thakur, along with Vineet Kumar, a member of a child welfare committee, who ran the NGO.
Reportedly, it has also been revealed that Thakur was getting 40 lakh per annum from the state government to run the shelter. He was given a tender to run an old age home and a Juvenile home as well. An NGO ran the ‘Balika Grih’ shelter home called Sewa Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti. As per reports, Brajesh was given the tender to run the shelter home by the state Social Welfare Department.