Police `not equipped to tackle child abuse'
CHENNAI : Bias and conditioning of attitudes prevent the criminal justice system from fully understanding child abuse, said speakers at the first annual Tulir - CPHCSA lecture held on Saturday evening at the Freemasons Hall.
R.K. Raghavan, former director, Central Bureau of Investigation, delivered the lecture on `New Frontiers in Policing: Investigating Child Abuse'.
Geeta Ramaseshan, lawyer, who introduced the Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse, said that child sexual abuse within families was difficult for many to come to terms with and led them to deny the existence of the problem.
Dr. Raghavan said the number of reported child rape incidents had crossed 3,500 in 2004. Only 15/20 per cent of rape cases were usually reported, he said, and available research was uneven in standard and rigour.
Most offenders were male and well known to the victim. Cases are likely to be reported after a month or after long periods of abuse.
The police need to adopt special techniques to deal with such cases and officers who can strike a rapport with children should be assigned the task.
The law had also failed to address the issue effectively. The emphasis on the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000, which deals with crimes committed by children, needs to be lessened, he said. Andal Damodaran, President, Indian Council for Child Welfare, said child abuse occurred across all classes, though it was more likely to be reported in low-income groups.
She said the police should not be blamed for their inability to deal with child abuse; a clear mechanism for handling such cases was needed. Tulir can be accessed online at www.tulircphcsa.org or contacted at 26632026.
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