A recent report revealed that only 7.07% of the child sexual abuse (CSA) cases reported in Kerala have been settled in the last four years. Data released by special courts reveal that from November 2012 to December 2015, of the 3,711 cases, 3,500 are pending. Apart from this, in another 197 cases, the accused have been acquitted.
In the last four years, only in 53 cases have the accused been convicted. Speaking to the media, chairperson of Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Shobha Koshy said that the situation is critical and institutions dealing with such cases should be more sensitive.
â€śThe situation is severe and we should enquire about it in detail. We canâ€™t consider it lightly, courts and other institutions dealing with such cases should be more sensitive and child friendly,â€ť she said.
CU Thresia, senior research scholar at Jawaharlal Nehru University, who has done research on child welfare in Kerala says that in most of the cases, non-cooperation of the witnesses and the victimâ€™s family results in the acquittal of the accused.
â€śAt some point, the evidence is lost. If the accused is a relative of the victim, then the case would not exist at all,â€ť she said.
â€śMore than denial of justice, this also shows the helplessness of the victim who is taken for granted. Since the victim is a child, he/she would have no voice. When cases get delayed, cooperation from the victimâ€™s family gets reduced too,â€ť she said.
She also said that there are many cases that go unreported or are not filed by the police.
â€śSee the number of cases being delayed after being reported. There are hundreds of incidents which donâ€™t get reported. During some of my earlier days, surveys in schools had revealed that,â€ť she claims.
She said that for child abuse cases at least, fast and immediate procedures should be adopted by courts.
â€śThis is a sensitive issue; we are bound to tackle this with more responsibility. Now the data shows that all our child welfare institutions were a failure,â€ť she alleged.
KSCPCR member J Sandhya told The News Minute that it is very disturbing that so many cases are still pending in the special courts.
â€śDespite taking all necessary measures to deal with child abuse cases, it is painful that thousands of cases are pending in courts. The accused getting acquitted also points to some failure,â€ť she said.
Numbers are scary
According to KSCPCR, the number of crimes registered against children from June 2013 to October 2016 is 3,809.
The State crime records bureau report reveals that crimes against children are increasing considerably.
From 2008 to 2011, the number of crimes against children was 3,186, but from 2012 to 2016 (till July), the number rose to 9,441.
Data shows that child rape cases have also been increasing yearly: 423 (2011), 455 (2012), 637 (2013), 709 (2014), 720 (2015) and 520 (till July 2016).
As per activists, there are many cases that go unreported.
â€śEfficient implementation of the law is the main solution for this. Besides, awareness given to children and families can also help,â€ť says Sandhya.