Child rights activists on Friday applauded the Supreme Court order overturning the acquittals of Duncan Grant and Alan Waters in a 2001 paedophilia case.
They were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for sexually abusing five boys at the Anchorage shelter at Colaba.
“We are very happy that the Supreme Court (SC) recognised that a child’s statement that he was sexually abused is enough and does not require corroboration,” said Nishit Kumar, head of communications and strategic initiatives at Childline India Foundation, a non-profit group.
“The court also recognised that people were exploiting children’s vulnerability by offering incentives.”
Childline had filed the police complaint in 2001, based on complaints made by street children that they were sexually abused at the shelter.
In 2006, Grant and Waters were convicted by a sessions court, but the order was overturned by the Bombay high court in 2008.
“This is very good news for civil society and for children,” said Ashok Pingle, state project manager of Save the Children, Maharashtra.
“So many cases do not come up because children are unable to speak for themselves,” he added.
“To deal effectively with the issue of child abuse, a tripartite initiative involving an aware and vigilant community, a proactive police force and an alert state is the need of the hour,” said Kreeanne Rabadi, regional director of the non-profit Child Rights and You.
“Moreover, prevention of child abuse is possible only with an integrated approach involving simultaneous action at the levels of protection of the rights of victims and survivors as well as prosecution and stringent action against exploiters,” Rabadi added.