Not only in school, children in Maharashtra unsafe at home too: UNICEF survey

The survey reveals that 24% people who knew about the abuse at home did nothing. 
Schools admit that only a few children speak up against abuse, despite complaint boxes being available on campus.(Pic for Representation)
Schools admit that only a few children speak up against abuse, despite complaint boxes being available on campus.(Pic for Representation)
Updated on Mar 22, 2017 10:30 AM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times | By, Mumbai

While mostly schools are vilified for subjecting children to harsh punishments or sexual abuse, a recent study has revealed that cases of violence against children at home are not few either and most of them go unreported. Most parents and adult family members do nothing to deal with the complaints, despite it being brought to their notice. Educators and child development specialists said this is due to the absence of child sensitive mechanisms to report violence. 

Close to 5,000 children across Maharashtra, between 13 and 17 years of age were interviewed by The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), along with non-profits such as NINEISMINE and Mumbai Smiles, to identify, record, and track the violence that children experience. 

The study said children don’t report violence inflicted on them at home for fear of repercussions (35%), feelings of shame (16%), lack of anyone to talk to (16%) and threats (8%). Of those who chose to report it, most (32%) got no help. The survey reveals that 24% people who knew about the abuse at home did nothing. 

Pressured by the gender roles constructed by society, boys experience more shame while disclosing the instances compared to girls. The survey said 65% boys didn’t report the incidents, compared to 31% girls. 

Child development specialists said while new laws such as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, emphasise mandatory reporting of child abuse but most cases at homes go unreported. 

Rekha Vijayakar, director, Abled Disabled All People Together (ADAPT), an NGO, said teachers often notice injuries children’s bodies and summon their parents, but the matter seldom goes to the police. “The extent of violence meted out at homes by parents would be considered a crime in foreign countries,” said Vijayakar. “Children are mercilessly beaten up in an attempt to discipline them or out of frustration.” 

Adding that some parents show an extremely callous attitude towards disabled children, Vijayakar said, “We see parents from affluent homes ignoring the needs of their differently-abled children. But there are no mechanisms to report about such incidents.” 

It is easier for parents to get away with violence, compared to teachers or school staff, said educators. “All we can do is summon the parents and warn them that violence at home will not be tolerated,” said Rohan Bhat, chairperson, Children’s Academy Group of Schools, Kandivli and Borivli. 

Schools admit that only a few children speak up against abuse, despite complaint boxes being available on campus, where they can report anonymously. “We act immediately if we receive a complaint, but in many cases, children are afraid to speak out,” said Father Francis Swamy, principal, St Mary’s School (Mazgaon). 

Children are most vulnerable at their workplace and susceptible to exploitation and violence, the study adds. Around 13% of respondents feared being verbally abused by employers, 11% are afraid that they won’t be paid and 10% fear losing jobs. “Children working as domestic workers are beaten up most often,” said Farida Lambay, co-founder, Pratham NGO, which rescues child labourers.

READ MORE

Study: Rural kids face more physical abuse

Only strict and speedy implementation of laws can check child abuse

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Special correspondent with Hindustan Times, covering education for the last seven years. Always learning.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • For over two months now, some of the big municipal corporations in the state, including Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Nashik, are under administrator’s rule (HT FILE PHOTO)

    Monday Musings: Civic-centric, but unpopular, projects could take off under administrator

    Pune: For over two months now, some of the big municipal corporations in the state, including Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur, and Nashik, are under administrator's rule. Same goes with illegal encroachments and other civic inconveniences. In Pune, municipal commissioner Vikram Kumar, who is also serving as the administrator, has been pushing for expediting projects, some unpopular and seemingly difficult to be executed, if public representatives are in the game.

  • Only two international flights are operational from Mohali airport at present. While one is for Dubai, the other is for Sharjah. (Representative photo)

    Punjab CM for direct flights from Mohali airport to US, Canada

    Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Monday directed the state civil aviation department to immediately tie up with the Centre for direct flights to countries such as the US and Canada from the international airport in Mohali. Also read: Rain brings respite from heat wave in Punjab, Haryana At present, only two international flights are operational from the airport to Dubai and Sharjah.

  • The Kedarnath shrine in Rudraprayag district. (HT PHOTO)

    Uttarakhand: Char Dham Yatra to Kedarnath halted amid heavy rain; IMD warns of thunderstorms

    The Char Dham Yatra to Kedarnath was halted on Monday amid gusty winds, heavy rain and snowfall in Uttarakhand even as the pilgrimage to Gangotri, Yamunotri, Hemkund Sahib, and Badrinath continued as usual. “Hemkund Sahib experienced light snow on the day the portals of the shrine were opened but it has not affected the yatra,” said Hemkund Sahib Management Trust vice president NS Bindra. Over 10,000 pilgrims were waiting for the yatra to resume.

  • NDRF team brings out body from Ganga river near Prabhu Ghat in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.

    Four drown as boat capsizes in UP's Varanasi, 2 rescued

    At least four persons drowned and two others were rescued after a boat capsized near Prabhu Ghat in Uttar Pradesh's Varanasi on Monday. Police rushed to the spot and an NDRF team was also called to help in rescue efforts. According to officials, the six people were sailing on the Ganga river near the ghat when water started filling up through a hole in the boat. Soon after, the boat capsized.

  • The IAS officers who got fresh postings include finance secretary Gurpeet Kaur Sapra. She has been given the additional charge of Jalandhar divisional commissioner against a vacant post. (Representative photo)

    7 IAS officers transferred in Punjab

    The Punjab government on Monday transferred seven Indian Administrative Service officers and an Indian Forest Service officer. Also read: Rain brings respite from heat wave in Punjab, Haryana The IAS officers who got fresh postings include finance secretary Gurpeet Kaur Sapra. She has been given the additional charge of Jalandhar divisional commissioner against a vacant post. Vishesh Sarangal has been posted as the Kapurthala deputy commissioner with additional charge of the city's municipal corporation commissioner.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 23, 2022