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10-yr-old’s rape: ‘We need counsellors, experts to look after sexually-abused children’

A full-fledged team is the need of the hour, so that a sexual abuse victim can be examined immediately and at one place itself, said Neil Roberts, chairperson of Child Welfare Committee (CWC).

punjab Updated: Jul 30, 2017 13:33 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Child Welfare Committee,Neil Roberts,Rape
Representative Photo

To improve the efficacy of Child Welfare Committee (CWC), a dedicated team of experts, counsellors that can look after children suffering from sexual abuse and aid them in fighting their trauma is the need of the hour , said Neil Roberts, chairperson of the panel.

Talking to HT about the functioning of the Child Welfare Committee and what all is needed for it he said, “Ideally there should be a team of experts, including psychologist, psychiatrist, paediatrician, a social worker and a legal expert to deal with victims (children) of sexual abuse.”

He said a full-fledged team is the need of the hour, so that a sexual abuse victim can be examined immediately and at one place itself.

“Moreover, if there is a dedicated team then we will also be able to track the behavioural changes, if any, of the child (victim of sexual abuse) in the long run,” he said.

No counsellor with CWC to attend to abuse victims

The child welfare committee does not have any counsellor to attend to children suffering from trauma.

“We need trauma counsellors, there should be at least one. Dealing with children who have been through trauma needs a different skill, but we don’t have any such counsellor,” said Neil Roberts.

When asked how the counsellor was arranged for the 10-year-old rape victim, who is now 32-weeks pregnant, he said, “In such cases, we arrange counsellors from other units like Child helpline or District Child protection unit.”

‘In many cases, police don’t follow protocols’

Neil Roberts said as per Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) rules, it is mandatory for the police to report the matter to CWC within 24 hours of registering an FIR.

But in the case of 10-year-old girl, the CWC got to know about it after 3-4 days. However, the police had approached the Child helpline for a counsellor.

“In many cases, police miss this 24-hour deadline. Police officers should be made aware of all the protocols like they should not be in uniform when they interact with victimised child, they should not call the child to police station, their approach should be friendly and they should never bring child and the accused face-to-face,” said Neil Roberts.

About the committee

The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is the sole authority to deal with matters concerning children in need of care and protection.

Neil Roberts, CWC chairperson, said, “Three types of child sexual abuse cases are forwarded to us. These are where the abuser is a close family member, the sexual abuse happened inside child care institutions or a sexual abuse victim is find abandoned.”

“In these cases, it is the responsibility of the Police to bring these children to CWC, after registering an FIR under POCSO,” he said.

Apart from this, any child suffering from any trauma or difficulty can approach CWC via child helpline.

Helpline numbers: 1098 or 181

First Published: Jul 30, 2017 13:33 IST