Small Mizoram records ‘big’ numbers in child sexual offences; authorities say it is due to increased reporting
According to the National Crime Records Bureau that bases its statistics on the rate of cases under the POCSO Act , the national crime rate of sexual abuse of children in 2015 was 3.3. Mizoram however, recorded a rate of 30.7 - the highest in the country-followed by Sikkim (26.6).Updated: Dec 04, 2018 08:14 IST
Sixteen-year-old Jody had big dreams when she left her remote village and came to Mizoram’s capital last year to pursue higher studies. But within a few months, her dream was shattered when her uncle, at whose house she stayed, raped her in the absence of her aunt.
The perpetrator was arrested and a trial is on. But Jody (name changed) had to discontinue her studies in Aizawl and go back to her parents’ home.
Her case is not a solitary one. Despite having a small population of just over a million, Mizoram has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of sexual offences against children in the country.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) that bases its statistics on the rate of cases under the Prevention of Child Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act , the national crime rate of sexual abuse of children in 2015 was 3.3. Mizoram however, recorded a rate of 30.7 - the highest in the country-followed by Sikkim (26.6).
A year later, the scenario wasn’t much different. As per NCRB’s figures for 2016, Mizoram (45.0) was a close second behind Sikkim (45.3) The national rate for that year was 7.8. The NCRB figures for 2017 are yet to be released.
Among the eight districts in the state which witnessed a total of 475 cases, Aizawl with 152 cases of child abuse recorded between April 2015 and September 2018 tops the list. With 21 cases during the same period, Lunglei is at the bottom.
Most of the cases were of penetrative sexual assault (162) followed by sexual assault (147) and aggravated penetrative sexual assault (86). Of the total 475 cases, 24 were of sexual abuse of minor boys. In most cases, the perpetrators were relatives, friends or someone known to the victims.
“In January we had a case where a teacher had sexually assaulted at least 5 male students of class VIII inside the school and in their homes over a period of one year. He has been arrested and a trial is on,” said C. Lalremruati, protection officer, district child protection unit (DCPU), Aizawl.
To bring down the incidents of abuse, SCPS has conducted over 2400 awareness campaigns and capacity building and sensitization workshops across the state, in which over 185000 people have participated.
“The rate of sexual offences against children in Mizoram is comparatively higher. But it is not because there are more incidents here,” says Amy Lalrinpuii, program manager at the State Child Protection Society (SCPS). “ Unlike in other states, Mizoram sees more than 90% of cases getting reported”.
“We have a close knit society and the presence of influential civil society groups like the Young Mizo Association and the Mizo Hmeichhe Insuihkhawm Pawl (Mizo Women Welfare Federation) ensures that most cases get registered. The police play a pro-active role as well,” she added.
Mizoram’s literacy rate (91.58) is next only to Kerala (93.91) and the state is one of the most peaceful in the country, as the recently-concluded assembly polls showed.
First Published: Dec 04, 2018 08:14 IST