Incidents of sex abuse in which children are victims, are going up in the state, shows the data from Childline.
According to statistics from April 2011 to March 2012, 157 cases were reported, with Kasargod reporting the maximum number, followed by Palakkad, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Idukki districts.
The Childline centres across the state have reported an increase in the number of cases, especially in Kasargod, Kannur and Malappuram over the last six months. In most of the cases the abuser was a family member. Cases of homosexual abuse are also on the rise. But they are yet to be categorised by the Chennai Centre.
According to the Childline 74 per cent of the victimised children continue to stay at home despite the fact that 23 per cent of the victims have been abused by their fathers, step-fathers and relatives.
Around 78 per cent of the victims are girls. As to abuser-victim relationship, 39 per cent are neighbours, 13 per cent are teachers, 11 per cent are relatives and another 9 per cent are fathers,9 per cent institution-homes, 7 percent lovers, shopkeepers 5 per cent, step-fathers 3 per cent and 4 per cent strangers.
Minister for Social Justice and Panchayats M K Muneer said, “Procedures for Child Rights Commission will be formed soon to address the issue. The State Children Protection Committee and the district-level Child Protection Committees under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme will be set up by February 15. Jagratha Samitis at the panchayat and ward-levels will also look into the issue seriously.”
In July, seven sex abuse cases were reported by girls. In August, 39 cases were reported, of which 36 were of a homosexual nature. In September, there were 4, including one homosexual assault. In October, there were 6 cases, all against girls. In November, there were 14, of which 6 were homosexual.
In December, 6 cases were reported on sexual assault against girls. FIRs have been filed in 90 cases, and only 14 have been chargesheeted, 66 abusers have been arrested, and 21 are either absconding, yet to be arrested or have reached a compromise.
More cases are being reported owing to the awareness and counselling sessions in schools that instil confidence and courage, and push students into complaining.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which came into effect last November paves the way for mandatory reporting of sexual offences, said Fr Gilton, director of Childline, Kochi.
The cases are increasing, and in some cases, the perpetrators cannot be booked owing to political intervention, said Fr Thomas, director of Childline, Thiruvananathapuram.
Apart from giving counselling and awareness sessions, Childline directs victims to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC0.
CWC sources said they offer psychological support besides help with filing the FIR and medical report.
K M Abraham, Principal Secretary of the Social Justice Department, said the Nirbhaya scheme, to provide safety to women will help address the issue.