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Special units to tackle child abuse cases proposed

Bageshree S. and
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They will provide medical, psychological, legal and logistical support

The alarming rise in cases of child abuse and the delay in victims getting justice has spurred the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) to propose the setting up of a system that provides medical, psychological, legal and logistical support in a child-friendly environment.

The commission has proposed hospital-based Collaborative Child Protection Units (CCPU) in six hospitals in Bangalore. It has sent a proposal to the Health Department and the Medical Education Department to collaborate with designated hospitals to set up units in six zones, which will use multidisciplinary approach to protect the best interests of child victims.

The proposal follows a meeting held last month by the commission with doctors, police officials, various non-governmental organisations, legal personnel and child protection specialists.

Justice denied

Commission Chairperson Nina Nayak said that the private nature of crime, fear of ostracism, difficulties children experience in recounting what they have gone through and the unfriendly complaint registration and redressal mechanisms are some of the reasons why victims of child abuse do not get justice.

Victims, along with their families, “require thorough investigation, medical aid, effective and timely redressal mechanisms, rehabilitation and counselling,” she has said in her letter to Health Secretary E.V. Ramana Reddy and I.M. Vittala Murthy, Medical Education Secretary, adding that forming CCPUs requires special training of deputed staff in handling such cases as well as providing logistical support.

The concept note on setting up of CCPUs identifies several objectives, including providing easy and accessible process for reporting child abuse, establishment of child-friendly procedures at all levels and ensuring that every victim is interviewed by a trained doctor, police personnel or social worker. It proposes the setting up of a central data collection centre for the State.

Mr. Reddy told The Hindu the Health Department was open to the idea.

“We will discuss it with KSCPCR and decide on how to take it forward,” he said.

Heads of all the hospitals identified for setting up the units welcomed the move

Medical Director and Dean of M.S. Ramaiah Teaching Hospital D.C. Sundaresh said four doctors from Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Forensic Medicine apart from one nursing superintendent and casualty medical officer had been chosen to undergo training on how to interview and record statements of victims of child abuse.

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