'Child abuse cases more than reported'

'Child abuse cases more than reported'

Activists allege inaction in earlier ones

People fighting for child rights are unhappy that only 105 child abuse cases in Delhi schools have been registered in the National Commission for Child Rights so far, as revealed in the Rajya Sabha on Friday.

They alleged that the commission does not take action against registered cases, which has led to hesitation from parents and students in filing more complaints.

According to information given by E Ahamed, minister of state for human resource development in Rajya Sabha on Friday, NCPCR has received 115 cases, the highest number of complaints related to child abuse in schools from Tamil Nadu, and 105 complaints from Delhi.

The complaints were filed against beating, harassment, humiliation and sexual exploitation in schools.

Shashank Shekhar, former member of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), said Delhi has a peculiar mindset.

“Parents feel it is normal for a child to get punished, even beaten up, in schools or else how will the child learn? This is wrong. Whenever harsh punishment has been given to children, we have sent a strong message to teachers that such behaviour is not allowed. Unfortunately, this message was not conveyed to parents,” he said.

Shekhar added that Delhi was the first city to file a complaint against a teacher.

“Parents do not understand that even minor abuse should be reported. They do not
realise that the effect of such abuse leads to psychological problems,” he said.

But child rights groups

alleged that despite several complaints, NCPCR has not taken action against teachers or schools indulging in child abuse. “The conviction rate of child abuse cases in Delhi in 2010 was only five per cent,” said Bhuvan Ribhu, a Delhi-based lawyer.

Ribhu said cases of child abuse are fast-tracked in Uttarakhand but not in Delhi.

“Delhi should follow a similar model because most cases in the city remain on paper rather than being resolved. People should get up and approach police if the commission does not act on complaints,” he said.

Jaya Singh, associate general manager CRY, Delhi, said NCPCR has not been able to raise awareness among people about their duties.

“Most cases are not reported. Parents hesitate to report incidents because their ward needs to go back to the same school. They force children to adjust. Only educated parents understand the need to report, so we have to educate everyone,” she said.

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