PUDUCHERRY: As more and more cases of child marriage come to the fore, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) chairperson Vidyaa Ramkumar has stressed the need to raise awareness on the issue with children and parents. “Information should be passed on about child rights, evils of child marriage, health hazards involved, atrocities, negligence and sexual exploitation”, she said.
Child marriages have gone unreported over the years but they have surfaced in the past two years with the active involvement of the CWC and with the support of Integrated Child Protection Scheme, Childline and the police.
The CWC was able to intervene in nine child marriages being proposed and curbed nearly half of them. In a few cases, the information came after the marriage was solemnised, Vidyaa said.
Most of the cases were reported from the rural areas and families involved were poor. “Generally, widowed women or poor families force their daughters into such marriages, once they find a bridegroom with a decent income. There is also a common fear that the girl might elope with another man”, Vidyaa said. It is a social problem that needs to be addressed through counselling of parents and the youngsters, she added.
The CWC has also been involved in the arrest of five teachers on child molestation, six child rape cases, two child abuse cases, two pornography cases and most recently child prostitution case, apart from the other regular ones like adoption, admission to homes, children disputes and so on.