Chandigarh The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) report released on Thursday shows that Chandigarh is not safe for children. In 2016, of the 69 rape victims in Chandigarh, 41 were minors, i.e. below the age of 18. Of these 35 were teenagers, states the report.What makes these figures even more alarming is the fact that even as the number of rape cases is nearly the same as in 2015, when 68 such cases were reported in the city, the number of minor victims has gone up drastically. In 2015, only five of the victims were minors. Overall, the city is on the 11th position in the country when it comes to crime against women, while it is second among the UTs after Delhi. The report also shows how the women are increasingly at the risk of being violated by those known to them.Of the 68 men booked for rape in 2016, 95% were known to the victim. They include close relations like father and brother as well as neighbours and coworkers. Also, 11 victims accused their violators of raping them on the pretext of marriage.“There is a need for women to speak up against the crime,” said UT senior superintendent of police (SSP) Nilambari Vijay Jagdale. “It is their silence that encourages the accused further. Speak up, be it to your mother, a relative or a teacher.”The SSP also advised women, especially girls, to learn self-defence techniques that would help them in dealing with unpleasant situations. Low conviction rate fails to act as deterrent However, despite the rise in crimes against women, the conviction rate remains dismally low, at just 25%. In 2016, only 52 persons were convicted in 844 cases that went to trial. As many as 161 were acquitted. Experts say this low conviction rate fails to act as a deterrent. “Social stigma and pressure from relatives is what makes the victims retract the allegations,” said advocate Vikas Sagar, who practises in the district courts. “Many times, the victim turns hostile owing to undue considerations.”“The number of cases falling flat due to hostile witnesses is high in the case of crimes against women, said advocate Inderjeet Bassi. “If action is taken against hostile witnesses, it would definitely instil fear in the minds of others.” Meanwhile, the NCRB data also reveals that out of 737 cases of crimes against women investigated in 2016, 113 were disposed of owing to “mistakes” in the facts. Also, there were 19 cases in which the investigators found the allegations to be true but did not have sufficient evidence.