Need for children’s panel to check abuses

Serena Josephine. M

PUDUCHERRY: With no proper mechanism in place to handle cases of physical and sexual abuse of children, the need for a children’s commission is becoming more evident in the last few years, according to activists.

Barring a few cases, the reporting of child abuse has been low, owing to the lack of awareness, information and absence of a child-friendly legislative procedure, they said. For the officials and the activists, the setting up of a child’s commission would come as a solution to tackle the abuse cases. Till date, there has been no streamlined procedure to handle victims of abuse in Puducherry.

According to HOPE, an organisation which mainly works for child rights, only a few cases of child sexual abuses were reported in the last three years. “Around three years ago, a three-year-old in Solai Nagar was sexually abused. A case was registered and we helped in rehabilitation of the child. A year ago, a two-year-old in Nellithope was abused. In both cases, the abusers were persons known to the children,” director of HOPE P. Joseph Victor Raj said.

To prevent physical abuse of children by way of corporal punishment in schools, the Directorate of School Education had asked all schools to form committees for children to register complaints and problems in December 2007.

“The idea is to protect children, as corporal punishment is against their rights and could hinder their growth. Every school was also asked to keep complaint boxes,” Mr. Raj said. According to officials of the Social Welfare Department, a children’s commission should be set up to address the abuse cases.

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