India urged to protect children from sex abuse

New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) India should improve protection for children from sexual abuse as part of broader reform efforts following the Dec 16 gang-rape and death of a young woman here, Human Rights Watch said Thursday.

Child sexual abuse was disturbingly common in homes, schools and residential care facilities in India, the group said in an exhaustive 82-page report.

A government-appointed panel set up after the New Delhi sexual assault to recommend legal and policy reform found that child protection schemes have "clearly failed to achieve their avowed objective".

The report, "Breaking the Silence: Child Sexual Abuse in India," examines how current government responses are falling short, both in protecting children from sexual abuse and treating victims.

Many children were effectively mistreated a second time by traumatic medical examinations and by police and other authorities who do not want to hear or believe their accounts, Human Rights Watch said.

Government efforts to tackle the problem, including new legislation to protect children from sexual abuse, will also fail unless protection mechanisms were properly implemented and the justice system reformed to ensure that abuse is reported and fully prosecuted, it said.

"India's system to combat child sexual abuse is inadequate because government mechanisms fail to ensure the protection of children," said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"Children who bravely complain of sexual abuse are often dismissed or ignored by the police, medical staff, and other authorities."

The report uses detailed case studies rather than a quantitative analysis to examine government mechanisms to prevent and respond to child sexual abuse.

Human Rights Watch conducted more than 100 interviews with victims of child sexual abuse and their relatives, government child protection officials and independent experts, police officers, doctors, social workers, and lawyers who have handled cases of child sexual abuse.

Addressing child sexual abuse was a challenge all over the world, but in India shortcomings in both state and community responses add to the problem, Human Rights Watch said.

The criminal justice system, from the time police get a complaint until trials were completed, needs urgent reform.

Poorly trained police often refuse to register complaints. Instead, they subject the victim to mistreatment and humiliation.

Doctors and officials said the absence of guidelines and training for sensitive medical treatment and examination of victims of child sexual abuse contributed to trauma.

"It is hard enough for a sexually abused child or their relatives to come forward and seek help, but instead of handling cases with sensitivity Indian authorities often demean and re-traumatize them," Ganguly said.

The sexual abuse of children in residential care facilities for orphans and other at-risk children was a particularly serious problem, the report said.

Many privately run facilities were not even registered. As a result, the government had neither a record of all the orphanages and other institutions in the country nor a list of the children they were housing.

Abuse occurs even in supposedly well-run and respected institutions because of poor monitoring, the report said.

Human Rights Watch urged the government to provide training and resources to ensure that police, doctors, court officials, and government and private social workers responded properly when there were allegations of child sexual abuse.

Matches

MORE TOP STORIES TODAY

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

Pietersen to miss Delhi's first game

The former England batsman will have to lead the franchise as he is out of the match against Bangalore with a finger injury. More »

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

Kallis, Narine star in Knight Riders’ crushing win

An all-round display saw Knight Riders thump Mumbai Indians by 41 runs in the IPL-7 opener. More »

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

Gavaskar wants a clean IPL

"Integrity is non-negotiable..." says the BCCI's interim chief ahead of Season 7 of the tainted league. More »

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

'Yak' Kallis still on top of his game

The 38-year-old South African veteran turned it on for Kolkata Knight RIders in the opening match of IPL-7. More »

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

Srinivasan named in fixing report: SC

The court emphasised that the tainted administrator can no longer work for the BCCI. More »

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'If you do the wrong thing it will be found out'

'Everyone knows what is right and what is wrong and if you do the wrong thing it will be found out' More »

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust. More »

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Johnson may quit T20s for Tests

Australia's Mitchell Johnson may quit limited-overs cricket to prolong his test career with an eye on the 2015 Ashes series in England, the fast bowler… More »

There's a lot going on: Fleming

There's a lot going on: Fleming

He experienced anxious moments in the lead-up to the tournament as the courts decided on whether to suspend the franchise, he said, but stressed that the… More »

Nepal players call off boycott

Nepal players call off boycott

Thaw in relations after formation of an advisory committee that would work in tandem with the Cricket Association of Nepal. More »

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Latif couldn’t work with tainted players

Former Pakistan cricket captain Rashid Latif said Tuesday he turned down the job of national chief selector because he could not work with ex-players tainted… More »

We are not over-confident: Bailey

We are not over-confident: Bailey

Indian Premier League — George Bailey-led Kings XI Punjab will face Chennai Super Kings on Friday. More »

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Big runs expected, with bat and ball

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Their main concern, once again, is the fast bowling More »

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

Taxing issue — BCCI hits roadblock

MoU between BCCI & its units to avoid double taxation delayed after a few decline to share details. More »

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

Black Caps pick rookie duo for West Indies

New Zealand selectors included two new caps in a 15-man Test squad named Tuesday to tour the West Indies, with injury-hit spinner Dan Vettori's future… More »

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The stage is set for IPL-7 to start

The Preview — Defending champions Mumbai Indians take on Kolkata Knight Riders More »

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

Srinivasan appeals to court to allow BCCI comeback

He was aggrieved by the allegations against him during the hearing. More »

India: cricket's Brazil

India: cricket's Brazil

They are tough to beat with a big talent base exposed to good facilities. (CYCSPL) More »

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Delhi Daredevils say no to gifts

Franchises are doing their bit to refurbish the image of the tainted league. More »

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Klinger on his exit from South Australia

Michael Klinger has revealed he felt compelled to leave South Australia after being told he would be only a fringe part of the Redbacks' plans for next season, and disputed the suggestion that he left… More »

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

India-Pakistan Test series likely in 2015

The revival of Indo-Pak Test ties could take place in UAE. More »

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

Kohli hopes to end RCB trophy drought

'This time around we will hope to go few more steps ahead and actually get that trophy' More »

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Gavaskar can help IPL regain glory

Apart from the foreign players a lot of behind-the-scene activity has taken place in selecting the Indian domestic players. More »

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Tendulkar, Ganguly to promote soccer

Leading Spanish club Atletico Madrid and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly are among the owners of eight franchises of a new Indian… More »