Girl’s death exposes system failure in sheltering POCSO victims

The death of an 18-year-old girl who had been extensively abused by different men in Kozhikode and Malappuram districts in the last couple of years has exposed the failure of the government system in providing care and shelter to victims of rape.

The girl was found dead at her house at Tenhipalam on Thursday. Her mother said that the girl had attempted to commit suicide many times before and that her requests to the authorities to give treatment and counselling to the girl had fallen on deaf ears. “None cared for my daughter,” she sobbed.

The girl had been raped by several men and three cases were registered at Feroke Police Station under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The rape had taken place when they lived near Feroke in Kozhikode district. Another case for sexual abuse was also registered at Kondotty Police Station.

The victim had lived with her mother and younger brother at different places, including Feroke and Kondotty. She had been abused by several people, including her cousins, over a long period of time.

The police said that they had mentioned the vulnerability of the girl’s family in their chargesheets. They said they had recommended treatment and counselling to the girl.

The authorities responsible for the protection of children, including the District Child Protection Officer, in Kozhikode said that they had not been alerted about the need for giving counselling to the girl.

Meanwhile, several questions were raised on Thursday about how the girl was allowed to rejoin her vulnerable family in spite of having been repeatedly raped by different men. The Child Welfare Committee and the District Child Protection Officer are responsible for ensuring the safety of the victim in any POCSO case.

The District Child Protection Officers in Kozhikode and Malappuram are being blamed for allowing POCSO victims to rejoin their families in vulnerable circumstances. In Malappuram district, for example, the victims of POCSO cases that took place in Pandikkad, Edappal, Mankada, Areekode and Tirurangadi were sent back to their families, raising serious concerns about their safety.

The Child Welfare Committee takes a decision about sheltering the POCSO victims on the basis of the recommendation by the District Child Protection Officer.

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Printable version | May 17, 2022 7:37:35 pm |