HYDERABAD: Despite restrictions imposed across the city in view of COVID-19, paedophiles have been lurking, targeting children within their own homes. Since the lockdown was announced, the Childline Divya Disha in Hyderabad has received two reports of child sexual abuse and lodged complaints with the police.
The first complaint was received from Langar Houz where a father abused his pre-teen daughter. The victim and her mother, in order to avoid the trauma, went to a relative’s house. But the filing of the case was delayed due to the lockdown.
"The lockdown caused some delay. However, when we got to know of the case we provided support for them to file the case and all related procedures like medical examination and statement has been taken of the victim," informed an official of the childline.
In another case reported from Chikdapally police station limits, involved a five-year-old who along with her family visited their relatives living in the vicinity, where a 15-year-old male abused the girl. The complaint reached Childline who then linked up with police officials and rescued her.
Owing to the current situation, the delinquent minor has been placed at home, to ensure there is no exposure to the infectious virus. Experts note that considering the long duration of the lockdown, the government should also take into account children and their needs during the period.
"In a situation like this, vulnerable sections tend to be more at risk. The government must take into account the scope of such violence against them and also educate parents on vulnerability," explained Divya Disha founder Philip Issador.
He further stated that parents must be more cautious of their children spending more time online and offline with nothing to do, exposing them to vulnerable situations. The childline helpline 1098 has also been receiving calls from distressed parents unable to take their children for critical medical intervention owing to the lockdown.