As protests erupt against the sexual assault on a five-year-old girl in the capital, a report has revealed that child rape cases in India have witnessed 336% rise since 2001.
Citing National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) figures, the report by Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) stated that 48,338 child rape cases were recorded during 2001-11, which was an increase of 336% in such cases since 2001 when only 2,113 child rape cases were recorded. The number rose to 7,112 cases in 2011.
With 9,465 cases, Madhya Pradesh was on the top of the child rape table, followed by Maharashtra (6,868) and Uttar Pradesh (5,949), while Daman and Diu (9), Dadra and Nagar Haveli (15) and Nagaland (38) reported the least number of child rape cases during 2001-11.
"These are only the tip of the iceberg as the large majority of child rape cases are not reported to the police while children regularly become victims of other forms of sexual assault too," ACHR Director Suhas Chakma said.
The report - “India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes” stated that sexual offences against children in India had reached epidemic proportions and a large number of such crimes were being committed in 733 juvenile justice homes run and aided by government. It cited 39 such cases - 11 from government-run juvenile justice homes and 27 from privately/NGO-run ones.
The report has been submitted in advance to UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women Rashida Manjoo who is visiting India between 22 April and May 1, 2013. Chakma said ACHR would meet the Rapporteur on April 23.
“It will not be an understatement to state that juvenile justice homes, established to provide care and protection as well as re-integration, rehabilitation and restoration of the juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, have become India’s hell holes where inmates are subjected to sexual assault and exploitation, torture and ill treatment apart from being forced to live in inhuman conditions,” he said.
“The girls remain the most vulnerable. It matters little whether the juvenile justice homes are situated in the capital Delhi or in the mofussil towns,” Chakma added.
Blaming government agencies for the continued sexual assault on children, the ACHR report said most state governments had not formed Inspection Committees mandated to inspect juvenile justice homes and report at least once in every three months.
There were hundreds of unregistered child care homes across the country despite the requirement to register such homes within six months under Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act, 2006, it said, demanding registration of cases against those running unregistered juvenile justice homes.
According to the report, though there were 462 District Child Welfare Committees in 23 States mandated to verify fit institutions, majority of them existed
only on paper.
It said lack of segregation on the basis of gender, nature of offences and age facilitated senior inmates to commit offences against minor inmates, including girls.
ACHR recommended immediate establishment of Inspection Committees in all the districts and mandatory inspection of the juvenile justice homes by these committees in every three months; stopping funds to any home unless inspection reports are submitted; separate budgetary allocations for the functioning of the Inspection Committees and ban on posting of male staff in girls’ homes.