November 28, 2010

Mumbai Mirror

Child sexual abuse cases on the rise: Study

A study on child sexual abuse conducted in 13 states by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007 shows that out of the 12,447 children interviewed, more than 53 per cent had faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. The figures were published in a report titled, Child Abuse, 2007.

According to data from the National Crime Records Bureau, from 2,265 cases in 2001, the number has increased to 5,749 in 2008.

Not only that, 50 per cent abusers were persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility, the Lok Sabha was informed on Friday.

Replying to a written question, Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Tirath said, “The government proposes to bring in a new law to protect children against sexual offences of various types.” She added, “The draft Bill regards the best interests and well-being of the child as of paramount importance at every stage of the judicial process.”

November 25, 2010


Times of India

NGO Maps Citys Violent Reality Through RTI

Mumbai: Delhi has for long been perceived as Indias rape capital,whereas Mumbai is viewed as one of the safest cities in India for women.But data on crime against women in Mumbai over the last two years paints a rather grim picture of the city,with one rape occurring every two days in Mumbai.

North-central Mumbai has witnessed the highest number of rape cases,with 75 rapes reported in two years.Meanwhile,north-west Mumbai tops the charts when it comes to molestations.Incidentally,the report shows that every area in Mumbai has seen a decrease in the number of rape cases from 2008-09 to 2009-10,except for north-west Mumbai,which has seen an increase.

The above are some of the findings of a report on crime in Mumbai by the Praja Foundation.The report is the result of a series of RTI applications.

Our analysis in this white paper does not directly talk about the city polices preparation for another 26/11-style attack,but of the dayto-day 26/11 situations that the city and its people are facing, said Nitai Mehta,founder trustee,Praja.
The results of the report may come as a surprise for many Mumbaikars.Take for instance the fact that South Mumbai tops the charts for murder across all regions in the city,with 90 murders committed in the area over the last two years.South Mumbai has also witnessed the highest number of housebreaks (1,114) and thefts (3,037) in this period.

November 23, 2010

Hindustan Times

Docs at Nair show how to handle child abuse cases

With cases of child abuse coming to fore often, the Mutli Disciplinary Child Protection Centre at the Nair Hospital organised a chart exhibition on Friday. The doctors had put up charts displaying behavioural signs parents need to lookout for to find out if their child has been sexually abused.

Dr Pawan Sable, a member of the centre, said the police should be careful while dealing with such victims. "Right from the time the victim informs her parents till the time the case is argued in the court, the victim has to recount the crime. This adds to her already traumatised state of mind," Dr Sable said.
"If possible the police must video record statement to ensure he/she does not go through the trauma of recounting their experiences," he added.

A young child may find it intimidating to approach the police. So it helps if some police officers visit the victim's residence. “In the court, the accused and the victim need to be present. However, there have been instances when judges have given permission to put a curtain between the two to ensure the victim cannot see the accused. This helps her in giving the version freely," Dr Sable said.

The centre, started in 2006 jointly by Nair Hospital authorities and UNICEF, makes an attempt to ensure that all the needs of victims who have been sexually abused or involved in trafficking for sexual ends are provided with all the necessary measures from medical aid to legal measures.


Statement by minor in rape case cannot be dismissed: Bombay high court

The Bombay high court has held that a minor rape victim’s statement about the crime may not be clear but her version cannot be dismissed as unreliable.
Justice VR Kingaonkar of Aurangabad bench on November 15 upheld conviction awarded by the Jalgaon additional session court to Uttam Thakare, a resident of Manyakheda taluka. He was sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for 10 years.

A complaint was lodged by Gautambai that on June 6, 2005 around 6pm her granddaughter, 7, who was playing near a godown, did not return home. Around 10.30pm, neighbours brought the girl home. Gautambai noticed that the girl’s private parts were swollen and bleeding. She found out that the girl had been taken by Thakare to a field.

An FIR was lodged next morning. Medical examination revealed that she was raped and sodomised. Thakare, who was absconding then, was subsequently arrested.
His lawyer argued that in absence of any direct evidence, the sessions court erred in accepting the prosecution’s version. He submitted that the girl “is rustic, of tender age and is not a reliable witness” and also “tutored” and therefore no implicit reliance could be placed on her version.

Kingaonkar noted said the sessions judge found the girl unable to appropriately describe Thakare’s alleged acts. “She narrated that he had slept over her body. Hence, she bled from her vagina. The victim’s statement may not be clear as far as sexual intercourse is concerned, yet, her version makes it clear that it was the appellant who had taken her to the field and ‘fallen over her body’,” the judge noted.

November 16, 2010

BBC news

Row over Amazon sales of paedophile advice guide

A self-published guide giving advice to paedophiles that was on sale through online retailer Amazon is stirring up controversy, with some threatening to boycott the website.

The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure: a Child-lover's Code of Conduct has now been removed from sale.

But Amazon had defended the listing, saying it did not promote criminal acts but also avoided censorship.

Amazon allows authors to submit their own books and shares revenue with them.

Before authors are able to sell a work on the site, they are asked to read a set of guidelines, which bans offensive materials.

But Amazon does not specifically state on its website what material it deems offensive, instead saying "probably what you would expect".

Boycott threat

In recent hours the book listing appears to have been removed from the Amazon website. But there has been no response yet to BBC requests for a statement from the retailer.

It had previously adopted a defiant posture, saying in a statement: "Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable.

"Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions."

The author, listed as Philip R Greaves II, argues that paedophiles are misunderstood and purports to offer advice to help them abide by the law.

Individuals on the micro-blogging website Twitter have asked Amazon to remove the book from its site, while some are threatening to boycott the retailer.

One Amazon user posted a comment on the site, saying that "to see a book like this on Amazon's 'shelves', so to speak, is very troubling to me".

The title is being sold for the Kindle electronic reader.



Activists bemoan lack of laws to deal with child sexual abuse

As SPS Rathore, the molester of a minor who was driven to suicide following the abuse, got bail, welfare foundations held a workshop in the city on Friday to sensitise policemen about child sexual abuse.

The workshop was conducted by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development in collaboration with the Childline foundation. It saw participation from assistant commissioners of police, senior police inspectors, community police and members of the crime branch.

“With a rampant increase in the cases of child sexual abuse, this workshop is an attempt to sensitise policemen about the psychological, legal and medical aspects related to child sexual abuse, as they are the one who deal with such cases on a daily basis,” said Jojo Verghese, city coordinator, Childline.
A matter of serious concern is the weak judicial system in India. Ranjeet Chouguley, director of the Justice and Care organisation, spoke about the legal aspects of child sexual abuse. He pointed that no specialised legislation for child sexual abuse are yet in place.

Speaking with DNA, he said, “The Juvenile Justice Act is a welfare Act but does not look at the criminal aspects of putting perpetrators behind bars. As of now, for child sexual abuse cases, we need to rely on provisions of legislation meant for adults. This is really unfair. We are hoping to implement some concrete laws once the Child Protection Bill gets passed in the winter session.”

Neeta Athale, faculty at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, talked about the psychological aspects of child sexual abuse. What is worrisome, she said, is that a large number of cases do not get reported. This is because in 75% cases, the person who subjects a child to abuse is a family member, relative or a person who holds a position of trust with the child.

Jaspal Singh Ragi, ACP of Meghavadi, who attended the workshop, said, “Child sexual abuse is a sin to humanity. Cases are on the rise, because the laws are weak and the perpetrators easily go scot-free.”

Talking about the workshop, he said, “This workshop was very useful and clarified a lot of doubts that we had. I would recommend this workshop to be conducted at zonal level with more officers participating.” Such awareness campaigns are a step forward to ensure a healthy and happy childhood.


Times of India

Payouts for rape victims soon

Plan For.150Cr Corpus Cleared By Expenditure Panel,Awaits FinMin Nod

New Delhi: A week after the Union Cabinet gave its nod to a legislation that will protect women from sexual harassment at the workplace,another landmark scheme to provide financial aid to rape victims could soon be a reality.

The government has cleared the decks for providing the victims or their legal heirs with financial aid to ensure restorative justice in the form of legal and medical assistance,shelter,counselling and other support services.
The planmooted by the ministry of women and child development (WCD)has been cleared by the expenditure finance committee and awaits a nod by the finance ministry.It entails the creation of a corpus of Rs 150 crore.
Under the scheme,victims will receive interim financial assistance of Rs 20,000 and restorative support services of up to Rs 50,000.The final assistance can be up to a maximum of Rs 1.30 lakh.

While this relief can be accessed by a woman,minor girl or legal heirs of a victim,the aid can go up to Rs 3 lakh under certain circumstances.In special cases involving minor girls,mentally-challenged or handicapped women,those suffering from HIV/AIDS or STDs,the amount can be higher.Rape is one of the most violent forms of crime against women,which impacts her socially,mentally and psychologically.This scheme will provide restorative justice by not just giving immediate relief but also addressing long-term problems like shelter,medical and legal aid, Krishna Tirath,WCD minister,said.

According to guidelines laid down by the ministry,the interim relief should be paid within three weeks of filing an application with a district board.

Taking a humanitarian view of the circumstances,the ministry has allowed for a time period of 60 days from the date of recording an FIR to file an application.The police station will also be required to forward a copy of the medical certificate and preliminary investigation report within 72 hours.The district board can disburse the interim relief of Rs 20,000 after a preliminary inquiry as far as possible within 15 days and in a maximum of three weeks.On the assessment of the needs of the affected woman,the board will be empowered to arrange support services like medical treatment,psychological counselling and alternative accommodation.The final amount of Rs 1.30 lakh can be directly disbursed by the district board within a period of one month from the date of which the affected person gives her evidence in the criminal trial or within a year from the date of filing an FIR.

The claim by a victim can be rejected by the board if the affected person does not inform the police,has delayed filing a complaint or FIR,turns hostile during the trial,appears collusive or the complaint is not based on verifiable facts.The scheme also envisages setting up of a state and national criminal injuries relief and rehabilitation board.


Under the proposed scheme,rape victims will receive interim financial assistance of Rs 20,000 and restorative support services of up to Rs 50,000 The final assistance can be up to Rs 1.3 lakh.In certain cases,it can go up to Rs 3 lakh This relief can be accessed by a woman,minor girl or legal heirs of a victim The interim relief should be paid within three weeks of filing an application with a district board This scheme will provide restorative justice to rape victims by addressing long-term problems like shelter,medical and legal aid Krishna Tirath