Enfold Proactive Health Trust, a city based health trust, will soon tie up with the Health Department and Women and Child Welfare Department to ensure that cases of child sexual abuse are referred only to Collaborative Child Response Units (CCRUs) for proper treatment and action.
Through a memorandum of understanding (MoU), the three bodies will work out a model to ensure that such cases are brought to the CCRUs where the children up to 18 years can be given holistic medical, psychological, social and legal support to victims of physical, sexual or emotional abuse. CCRUs have been set up at the M S Ramaiah Hospital, Baptist Hospital and Kempegowda Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS). The Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health already has a unit where doctors receive and treat cases of child abuse.
Plans are also afoot to expand the CCRU project to eight more districts in the state under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). CCRUs will be set up within six months in Mangalore, Belgaum, Bellary, Davangere, Mysore, Raichur, Dharwad and Gulbarga.
Meanwhile, Kushi Kushalappa, Coordinator-CCRU Project, Enfold Proactive Health Trust, said child sexual abuse cases are hardly referred to the CCRUs functioning in the city for over a year now.
“The police directly refer cases to Victoria, K C General Hospital or Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital. Instead, if they are referred to CCRUs the child is examined by a complete team of doctors and a medico legal case could also be filed so that action could be taken against the offender,” she said.
She added that CCRUs would also conduct follow up check-ups every six months. “The child may have problem living a normal life and may also get into substance abuse since they are disturbed after experiencing sexualised functions beyond their age. Follow up treatment becomes indispensable in all cases,” she said, while adding that the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO) passed on November 12 last year is also not being enforced and implemented.
The MoU will also ensure that the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) refers the cases to CCRU and places responsibility on hospital for managing these cases by following proper protocols. “When the case worker discusses the incident with the child, they must make sure that all the information is collected with just one interview. The child must not be questioned repeatedly.” Kushalappa said.