In a disturbing development in the school rape case in Bangalore, the police arrested a skating instructor suspected to be a pedophile, with videos of child pornography found on his laptop. The disturbing fact is that the videos contained footage of children in uniform being raped, the Bangalore police revealed.
The accused, Mustafa, who himself has a two-year-old daughter, has allegedly attempted to rape four other students before. Even as the Bangalore rape case surfaced, Mumbai too is on the hunt for a serial child-rapist, according to Mumbai Mirror. A five-year-old was raped on 5 July, while a nine-year-old girl was assaulted.
These incidents throw light on the safety of children in the country, which is drastically diminishing.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 58,224 cases of crimes against children were recorded in 2013. It has risen drastically from 38,172 cases during 2012. Of the total crimes against children, there were a total of 12,363 rape cases, and shockingly, crimes of rape of children rose by 44.7 percent in 2013 from the previous year.
Compare this to about 25,000 cases in 2009, and it is clear that children are becoming increasingly unsafe in the country.
However, this is just the reported cases. In reality, one out of two children faces sexual abuse by the age of ten. In 2007, the government had released a report stating that 53.22 percent children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse, with 21.90 percent having faced severe forms of child abuse.
But activists rue the government's inaction on the issue.
"Even when the government has itself brought out such information, no action has been taken so far," Nitish Kumar, head of communications at CHILDLINE India Foundation, told International Business Times India Edition. "Even though the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act came into effect in 2012, institutions such as schools have not complied with it. The government should have made Child Protection protocol compulsory in all schools, one of which is to ensure police verification of all staff," he said.
CHILDLINE India Foundation has itself had several cases of sexual abuse of children brought to its notice, with 1,537 cases reported in 2013, of which 920 were of rape incidents. In 2012 too, 894 cases of child abuse were reported to the organization.
The organization had brought out a survey in 2012 titled 'Everywhere Child Project' to gauge safety of children in various spaces, and their findings among schools were shocking –
- Of the 36 percent of schools that reported abuse, only 21 percent took follow-up action against the abuse.
- 10 percent schools reported having a child protection policy. 1percent schools have a sexual harassment policy.
- Only 12 percent of the respondents (the principal) have undergone any training in child rights and child protection.
- 64 percent schools said they take no measures to ensure safety of children outside school premises.
- Less than 2 percent of schools had school counsellors
Sensitization and implementation of laws are the need of the hour, Kumar said. "Even the police do not adhere to laws when dealing with cases of crimes against children. Institutions such as schools and even the Railways need to comply with laws in order to ensure safety of children," he noted.