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Cracking down on child abuse

The Gurgaon police have decided to formulate a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ against child abuse in schools.

delhi Updated: Oct 29, 2010 00:26 IST
Sanjeev K Ahuja

The Gurgaon police have decided to formulate a ‘zero-tolerance policy’ against child abuse in schools.
This comes after several incidents of attempted molestation against students in Gurgaon and in the wake of the apathy of school authorities in filing criminal complaints against the accused.
Besides creating a special child abuse helpline, the Gurgaon police have also decided to file a criminal complaint against the school principal, in case an incident of child abuse comes to light.
Gurgaon police commissioner SS Deswal said: “This helpline number and the mobile numbers of senior police officers (which will be announced
soon) would be required to be pasted on school notice boards and school websites. The same numbers would also be posted by us on a popular social networking website and our own website.”
Deswal added that the special police officers whose numbers would be displayed, would be other than the local area station house officers (SHOs).
“Students would be able to call up the police directly, even before the school management or parents come to know about it,” he added.
The Gurgaon police would also issue orders to all schools to strictly follow the Zero Tolerance Policy against child abuse in a day or two, Deswal added. The top cop said that in recent molestation attempts, neither the parents nor the school authorities had come forward to inform the police.
“It was on October 25, a week after the October 18 incident (when a skating instructor tried to molest a six-year-old student of a Gurgaon school) that I spotted an application filed by her parents in the local police station. In the application, the parents stated that they were apprehensive that the sacked teacher could harm them,” said Deswal.
“I had to call the girl’s parents and prevail upon them to file a criminal complaint against the accused teacher. It took my officers and me more than an hour to convince them to do so,” he added.
Police officials said that it was possible that parents of victims of child abuse did not file criminal complaints under pressure from the school management that prohibits them from doing so, fearing ignominy.