June 27, 2011



100 may have exploited 14-year-old in Kerala

The Kerala police is hunting for at least 70 persons who allegedly sexually exploited a 14-year old girl in connivance with her father.
The police believe that over 100 persons might be involved in the sexual exploitation of the girl, and 29 have been arrested recently.

The girl said her father, who used to do odd roles in Malayalam films, first exploited her and then let others in the industry and outside to do the same.
Hailing from Paravoor in Ernakulam district, the girl revealed her trauma to a close relative, following which a police complaint was filed three months ago.

Police said 71 accused are absconding and the police are hunting for them in Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. The victim had named some persons and a few more have to be identified.

Indian Express

Training for cops to deal with sexual abuse victims

For a victim of sexual abuse, the horror often does not end with the crime. The victim relives the pain and humiliation repeatedly starting from the time he or she approaches the police to register a complaint. In a bid to sensitise the police, a city-based NGO is training policemen on handling child sexual abuse cases.

Muskaan, an initiative under Aalochana, Centre for Documentation and Research on Women, is training policemen on the psychological, social, and legal aspects of sexual abuse cases. “In most cases, the culprits are close relatives who make the victims feel ashamed of themselves,” Radhika Rawat of Muskaan said.

Recently, state Director General of Police Ajit Parasnis had said that growing crime against minors was one of the biggest concerns for the police. Sharmila Raje, another team member said, “We approached Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar and expressed our concern about the way the issue of chld sexual abuse is dealt with at police stations. We suggested training for the police. With her approval, we have begun our training with sub inspectors and writers at police stations. We have covered all police stations under Zone I and will be covering the other three zones in the coming days.”
Kids are no longer safe

Express News Service , The New Indian Express
Posted on Jun 25, 2011 at 12:26pm IST

KOCHI: Incidents of sexual abuse have been hitting headlines for years now. But some of the incidents that have cropped up recently seem to be a little too disturbing. For, it is no longer the woman but the child who is the target and that too with the active participation of the parent.

Is this a new phenomenon in our society or is it just a continuation of our history?
“We cannot say this is completely new. There is no data to say that. But now such incidents are coming out in the open. It must be said that on an average the number of parents committing sexual abuse is just two percent. But the fact that it is happening cannot be ignored,” says M K G Nair, director of Child Development Centre, Trivandrum Medical College.

Cities seem to be on the forefront as far as such incidents are concerned.
Experts say this might be due to under reporting in villages while others feel these can be some of the side-effects of modernity seen in cities. “In rural areas, people are more connected. In my experience I have seen that when such incidents take place, the neighbours get to know and the local people intervene. But in cities this network is limited,” says M P Antony, project officer, Rajagiri Outreach.
At a time when children are increasingly becoming the focus of a parent’s life, such incidents have a tendency to shock society. “These were problems generally associated with the western society.

But in the west there are also several mechanisms to counter the issue. But we have ended up in a situation where we have all the problems but no solutions. A child here is extremely vulnerable because there are hardly any avenues for him/her to voice their problems,” said Sachidananda Kamath, president, Indian Medical Association, Kochi.

Counselling centres in schools which experts believe can put some check on the incidents.

Sex education of children from a young age could reduce their vulnerability to such abuse. “It has been scientifically proven that children who are given adequate sex education are five times less vulnerable to sexual abuse. “As part of the Integrated Child Development Programme (ICDS) the government has started a programme which makes counselling in schools compulsory. But the programme is yet to take off. “We are launching a state-wide scheme on similar lines under the CM’s 100-day programme.
It will include 10 lakh children from 300 Anganwadis. It might not be a revolution but it is at least a step forward,” said Nair.

June 14, 2011


Times of India

Court roots for greater awareness on tackling sexual assaults on kids

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has pitched for greater awareness of the three 'R's--recognise, resist and report--to tackle sexual assaults on children. Justice Roshan Dalvi's observations came while upholding the 10 years rigorous imprisonment awarded to a Raigad resident who had raped a nine-year-old standard III student seven years ago.

"It is when society, as also families, fail to follow these principles that offences of the kind alleged by the prosecution, in this case (rape of a child), take place," said Justice Dalvi. The judge said that while such crimes were universal, in rural areas, sexual abuse of children was left unobserved. "It is, therefore, that the crime persists with regular frequency over the most innocent victims," said the judge.

The judge called the assault on the victim a "gross violation of human rights" and refused to show the accused, Laxman Kokare, leniency. The defence had urged lesser punishment, saying Kokare was the father of two minors. "This would mean that the father of two minor children can sexually molest the minor children of other fathers. It would be scandalous to suggest that such persons who are a menace to innocent minor children can be seen by the court with any amount of leniency," said the judge.

On July 9, 2004, when the victim was on her way to school, Kokare had lured her with a chocolate and sexually assaulted her. A few days earlier, he had made a similar attempt. The victim later went to school, where the teacher noticed bleeding and sent her home.

Later in the day, she told her 17-year-old sister, who lodged a complaint with the police.

A sessions court had sentenced Kokare to 10 years, which he challenged. The high court held that Kokare was guilty of aggravated rape. It, however, noted the casualness with which the school and others treated the incident.

"It appears from evidence, the awareness required to be disseminated was absent in the home of the victim, her neighbourhood, as also her school. The violation on her person was taken in the stride by her siblings, neighbours, as also her teacher," said the judge.

The court reflected on preventive measures required in society and said, "The criminal justice system, which comes at the top of the ladder of society and which comes into play much after the offence is committed, can only deal with the punitive effect of such offence, the preventive and protective measures having failed in society."


Times of India

State to pay victims of crime

MUMBAI: Victims of sexual assault and any other form of violence who suffer severe injuries, or their kin in case of fatalities, will no longer have to appeal in court to get monetary compensation. The Maharashtra government is readying a draft victim rehabilitation policy to ensure that those who suffer severe mental trauma and grievous injuries get financial aid from the state.

"The process to assist 'victims of body injuries' has begun. The department is working on the modalities like the content of the policy, the compensation amount and criteria for entitlement," said Pravin Dixit, principal secretary, home department.

On Friday, Dixit chaired a debut meeting at Mantralaya to discuss the nature of the policy for grievously injured victims. The two-hour meeting was attended by senior IPS official Gulabrao Pol, joint secretary of the home department R D Sankhe and officials of the legal department.

The state government's initiative comes following an amendment to Section 357A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) approved by the government of India. It obliges every state government to prepare a scheme for providing funds to compensate the victim of a crime or his or her dependents.

"A corpus meant exclusively for compensating 'victims of body injuries' was discussed," said a senior official present at the meeting. Victims of rape cases or crimes where a person loses a limb or any part of the body will be covered in the new compensation policy, the official added.

"The policy prepared by the home department will be tabled for approval by the state government's finance, planning, law and judiciary departments. It will then be forwarded to the Union government for its approval and suggestions if any," Dixit said.

According to the policy, immediately after the incident of crime, a victim will be entitled to compensation as the policy is not linked to the outcome of court cases. "Irrespective of whether the accused is convicted or acquitted, the victim will get monetary help as finalized by the government," Dixit said.

If the state government is to be believed, every year 5,000 to 6,000 cases of severe injuries are registered in the state. "The victim will have to make a claim for the compensation. Those who do not claim will not be entitled to financial assistance," a senior Mantralaya official said. "The victim will have to get a medical certificate from doctors (the panel is yet to be decided) and the claim will be verified by the legal aid cell committee."

Still at a nascent stage, the policy will take a while to be fine-tuned. A similar policy is already in place in Punjab, whereby a compensation of Rs 1 lakh is given for loss of life and Rs 40,000 for over 40% damage to a body organ. In cases of rape, the compensation is Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 for an injury that causes mental trauma.

June 13, 2011

Hindustan Times

Scheme for rape victims by mid-August

Following the finance ministry’s acquiescence, a Centrally-sponsored scheme, not a fund, will be launched in two months time to monetarily compensate victims of rape, a government source told HT. The Centre will finance the scheme for the first year, but for subsequent years it will operate on a shared basis with the states, the source added.

“We have been pursuing this scheme for restorative justice and would like it to be launched at the earliest as now only creation of certain structures at the state and district levels is left. This scheme has been formalised after wide consultations,” women and child development minister Krishna Tirath said.


Based on the principles of restorative justice, the proposed scheme seeks to provide the rape victim a helping hand to help cope with the trauma and to tide over immediate and long-term needs.

Money-wise, the immediate and interim amount to be offered would be R70,000, while R1,30,000 would be offered for victim’s long-term needs.

The scheme also envisages setting up of criminal injuries relief and rehabilitation boards at the district, state and central levels for consideration of claims and ensuring effective coordination.

In certain cases, where victim is a minor or physically challenged, the rehabilitation boards will have the jurisdiction to increase the compensation amount to Rs 3 lakh.

The proposal had run into a hitch after the Planning Commission suggested that it should be financed from a fund and not operated in the form of a Centrally-sponsored scheme.

NCW’s role
The formulation of the scheme was initiated by the National Commission for Women in 1995 following a SC directive.

June 12, 2011


Times of India

Experts divided on definition of child

LUCKNOW: The government intending to put a curb on increasing child sexual abuse by introducing a bill with stringent punishment gained support from academicians, jurists, and professionals from the field of child care and development at the regional consultation on the proposed law against child sexual abuse. However, experts were not unanimous as who shall be considered a child. The consultation was organised by Dr Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University in collaboration with national commission for protection of child rights, New Delhi.

Member, Bihar State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Lalita Singh said, Anyone who is below 18 years is a child. This is a fact which is popular worldwide. She however, disagreed on Section 7 of the bill, which provides for no punishment if the consent for sexual act has been obtained with a person aged between 16 to 18 years. It is wrong to act on a childs consent, who is between 16-18 years, said Lalita.

June 10, 2011


Times of India


High Court Directs State Govt To Implement Scientific Norms To Examine Victims Of Sexual Assault

The Nagpur bench of the Bombay High Court asked the Maharashtra government to circulate amongst hospitals and police stations,the newly formulated pro-formas (forms) on forensic medical examination of rape victims.

The court bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Pramod Kode,while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL),asked the state government to file a compliance report within eight weeks.The intention is to ensure implementation of new detailed forensic tests for rape victims to bring in greater sensitivity and scientific authority into the process.

The state will now distribute fresh instruction manuals,forms for examination of rape accused,age estimation,requisition letter for chemical analysis and a new format to seek final opinion,to medical officers across all state hospitals and police stations.

The PIL was filed by Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson Dr Ranjana Pardhi and lawyer Vijay Patait on the basis of a report submitted by Dr Indrajit Khandekar.The report was titled Pitiable and horrendous quality of forensic medical examination of sexually assaulted victims.The PIL was supported by Mumbai-based NGO CEHAT,which had filed an intervention application and given suggestions on ways to make the investigation more humane on rape victims and also more scientific and to rule out the degrading two-finger test on victims.The new norms will do away with the outdated and heavily criticised finger test,which was used by doctors to determine whether the girl is habituated to sexual intercourse or not.

Dr Khandekar,an assistant professor in the department of forensic medicine at Sewagrams Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences,had pointed out how the accused exploited loopholes in law leading to their acquittal.The plea in court was thus to have the government bring in a uniform protocol and training for doctors and nurses.

Flavia Agnes,leading womens activist and lawyer,said in 2003 itself,the law of evidence was amended and it did away with the need to record past sexual history of a rape victim.The amended law prohibited testing a woman on her general immoral character.Agnes said,Hence the continuation of a onefinger,two-finger testing of the victim to suggest her habitualness ought to have been scrapped The latest development is a welcome step.

Lawyers say the guidelines will ensure that trials will now be based on medical evidence and not on moral opinions.

Decade Of Disturbing Figures

Anew rape protocol is the need of the hour given the rising incidence of such crimes in the state.Mumbai is second only to Delhi,the rape capital of the country,with 182 women raped in 2009 alone up from 141 a decade ago.The state-wide figures are no better,with a worrying 10% jump in the number of women raped over the past decade.The actual number of rapes are considered to be much higher as not all women muster up the courage to report the crime.A new protocol may help improve Maharashtras paltry conviction rate.Only 19.1% of rape offenders were convicted under section 376 of the IPC in the state in 2009,way below the already-shameful all-India average of 26.9%.