Health minister Siddharth Nath Singh on Sunday said people should speak up about child sexual abuse in order to check the menace.
He also said the perpetrators should be publicly shamed, adding, “then half the problem will be controlled.”
Singh was speaking at the HT Woman 2017-Award Ceremony here.
Quoting National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) statistics, he said 85 % of the victims were abused by family members and close relatives.
Merely 25% of the cases were reported, he said. In only 3% of the cases, FIR was registered against the accused, he observed.
The NCRB study found that the victims were too terrified to speak up. Fearing stigma and humiliation, the mothers too tried to suppress such incidents, he said.
“The time has come that the mother should instill in each child the mindset that they should speak up, resist and expose the culprits,” he said.
Lauding Hindustan Times for organising a programme on ‘Child Sexual Abuse’, Singh said, more such functions should be held on the sensitive issue.
The voice should reach the masses, he said.
To check child abuse, the government drafted the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO) in 2012. Under the Act, the culprits get minimum three years’ jail and maximum life imprisonment. Still, the culprits went scot-free as no complaint was registered against them, he said.
“Mother is the first friend, best friend and forever the friend of the child. She should educate her on child abuse and encourage her to speak up about sexual abuse. If the victims expose the culprit, who might be enjoying respect and glamour in the society, the cases of child abuse will be definitely checked. The action of the victim will act as a deterrent,” he said.
Singh said the state health department will provide free and best treatment to child abuse victims who undergo mental torture.
The state government will also launch an awareness campaign on the issue, he said.
“I urge Hindustan Times to assist me in taking the issue among public. If there is any list of the child abuse victims, kindly hand over it to me. I will not only raise the child abuse issue on a public platform across the state, but also ensure that the victims accompany me on the public dais. It will motivate other people to speak up about the issue, give them strength and a platform to raise their voice,” he said.
The campaign will create awareness and make the fight against child abuse successful, he said.