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1,575 children in shelter homes were victims of sexual abuse: Centre to SC

What have you done about them, Bench asks ASG

August 14, 2018 05:08 pm | Updated 08:43 pm IST - New Delhi

 A protest march being taken out against the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes, in New Delhi.

A protest march being taken out against the Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes, in New Delhi.

The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that a survey of 9,589 child care institutions across the country found that 1,575 inmates suffered sexual abuse before they were rescued and placed in these homes.

“What have you done about these kids? If there are 1,575 boys and girls who suffered sexual abuse, what have you done?” Justice Madan B. Lokur asked Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre.

Ms. Anand said the Centre had shared the survey conducted by Childline India Foundation with the States concerned, but nothing further happened.

“Which State did not take action? What did you do about it? So nothing has been done for these 1,575 boys and girls and they continue to be sexually abused?” Justice Lokur, heading a Bench also comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, reacted.

“We cannot shut our eyes to what is happening around us and what is being reported in newspapers,” Justice Gupta observed orally.

The survey took two years from December 2015 till March 2017 and was submitted to the Union Social Justice Ministry.

There is a national social audit of child care homes being conducted by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). This audit, Ms. Anand said, would be completed by October 2018. She said 3,500 shelter homes for children across the country had already been audited.

Active evaluation

Justice Gupta said the audit should not be just about collecting statistics but an “active evaluation” of the conditions of the children in the homes. “Talk to the children. See if they are happy or unhappy,” Justice Gupta addressed the Centre.

Several children, who were sexually and physically abused, were recently rescued from State government-funded homes in Bihar. The court is monitoring the rehabilitation of the child victims.

The survey, which is part of the Centre’s affidavit submitted in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, shows that Childline India Foundation mapped 9,589 Child Care Institutions (CCIs) and found that the total number of children found to be in need of care and protection was 3,68,267. Of these, 1,98,449 were boys, 1,69,726 were girls and 92 transgenders.

The children were orphaned, abandoned, surrendered, sexually abused, victims of child pornography, trafficked for domestic work, trafficked for labour/rescued from labour, trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, child marriage, HIV and AIDS-infected children, children affected by natural, man-made disasters, conflict, homeless, runaway/missing, special children or from other States.

Conflict with law

The survey found 9,382 children residing in these homes to be in conflict with law. Of the 1,575 children who suffered sexual abuse, 1,286 are girls and 286 are boys.

It said 189 — Girls - 40, boys - 149 — inmates were rescued from being victims of child pornography.

The report found that Karnataka, Telangana and Chhattisgarh have the highest rate of child pornography victims.

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