Very few child sex abuse cases reported: panel

Very few child sex abuse cases reported: panel

Child sex abuse incidents are “overwhelmingly under-reported” and official data points to “extremely poor” law enforcement in such cases, a Parliamentary panel has said.

Only 102 cases of online child abuse were reported in 2015 as against 45 in 2014, according to the latest figures available with the government.  The UNICEF, in its report Child Online Protection in India, had expressed concerns over under-reporting and non-availability of data on online abuse of children.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs has now asked the government to ensure that law enforcement agencies are aware of the challenging aspects of cyber crimes against children.

The panel, headed by former home minister P Chidambaram, is of the view that available data indicates extremely poor law enforcement as it only gives information about reported cases and fails to give a reflection of true prevalence of such crimes.

“The committee is anguished to note the severe under-reporting of crimes related to online child sex abuse in India. Firstly, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain any separate record of cyber crimes against children.

Secondly, whatever data is collected by NCRB presently, however rudimentary it may be, provides an insight into the state of law enforcement in the country, as it is unbelievable that in most of the states there is no incidence of any online child sex abuse,” the panel said.

It also said that NCRB should collate all the instances of online child sex abuse and other cyber crimes against children under a separate category from this year itself so that the
performance of the law enforcement agencies can be analysed.

While acknowledging that stigma and propensity of parents to not involve the police are some of the reasons for under-reporting, it said the process of reporting such crimes needs to be simplified and the identity of the children involved be protected.

It wanted the ministry of home affairs to work towards enhancing capacities of police and cyber forensic agencies. All states should create an online cyber crime reporting platform under the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children scheme, it said.

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