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.

No comments: