19/02/2016 12:18 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Child Sexual Abuse On A Rise In Mumbai

Nick Kenrick./Flickr
“The presence of even a single poor child on the street means a million defeats for mankind.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

In Mumbai--considered one of the safest cities in the country--two children under 12 years of age get sexually abused every day. Data collected from the police and four hospitals authorised under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) to treat such cases, revealed the dismal state of affairs.

"While 678 cases of child sex abuse were registered in all of 2014 by the police, the tally for 2015 had nearly trumped that number in October itself when the total cases stood at 677. The figures for the last two months of 2015 have not yet been processed by the police," reports Mumbai Mirror.

This year itself, at least 80 cases have been already filed.

Sion Hospital in Mumbai, the report states, treats a bulk of the cases of child sexual abuse. It adds that children in slum areas, especially in Dharavi are vulnerable to abuse. "Dharavi, Mankhud, Govandi, and Shivaji Nagar are the other slum pockets from where the number of child sexual abuse cases is very high," the report states.

An article on the Unicef website states, "According to a just-released 13-state National Study on Child Sexual Abuse commissioned by the Ministry of Women and Child Development and conducted by Prayas, UNICEF and Save The Children, abuse is a startling everyday reality for as many as half of the country’s children. The report states that more than 53% of children in India are subjected to sexual abuse, but most don’t report the assaults to anyone. Even when the problem gets identified, lack of social awareness on the gravity of the issue and ways to deal with it makes it difficult to ensure any kind of support to the victimized child."

In 2007, the ministry of women and child development had conducted a study to gauge the extent of the malaise. Titled, "Study on Child Abuse: India 2007", the survey revealed some shocking results. "Sexual abuse was reported by 53.22%

children. Among them 52.94% were boys and 47.06% girls 21.90% of child respondents faced severe forms of sexual abuse, 5.69% had been sexually assaulted and 50.76% reported other forms of sexual abuse," quotes a paper titled "The Problem of Child Sexual Abuse in India Laws, Legal Lacuna and the Bill."

The paper also points out that Delhi, Bihar and Assam are the worst when it came to cases of child sexual abuse. Most number of cases were reported here.

A spokesperson for Mumbai Police admitted that the rising number of cases of child abuse has become a challenge they are struggling to deal with. He told Mumbai Mirror, "It's a serious issue, especially the increasing rate of rape cases involving children below 12 years of age. We are conducting awareness drives in densely populated areas of the city and holding workshops in schools too."

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