The Hindu - April 10th, 2007
NEW DELHI: With two of every three children facing some form of physical abuse, an official study, "Child Abuse: India 2007," has suggested that the issue be placed on the national agenda. Fifty per cent of the abusers are people known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility. The study, released by Minister for Women and Child Development (Independent charge) Renuka Chowdhury here on Monday, says children in the age group of 5 to 12 faced higher level of abuse. Over 70 per cent of the abused children did not report the matter to anyone.
Andhra Pradesh has the highest percentage of almost all forms of abuse, followed by Assam, Bihar and Delhi. In the national capital, 87 per cent of young women reportedly faced one or more forms of emotional abuse during childhood.
According to the report, of the 69 per cent children physically abused, 54.68 per cent were boys. And 88.6 per cent were abused by parents. Two of every three children were victims of corporal abuse in school. According to the study, 53.22 per cent children reported having faced some form of sexual abuse. Nearly 22 per cent child respondents reported facing severe forms of sexual abuse and 5.69 per cent reported being sexually assaulted. Children on streets, at work and in institutional care also reported the highest incidence of sexual assault.
Every second child reported facing emotional abuse, irrespective of its sex. But 48.4 per cent of girls wished they were boys, suggesting that the abuse was more in the case of a girl child. In 83 per cent of the cases, parents were the abusers. "This is one report that we are releasing with a heavy heart," Ms. Chowdhury said. She asked State Governments to ban the sale of drugs and tobacco products, including gutka, to children as it caused serious diseases.
The study has recommended legislation that will address all forms of abuse. It stressed on the need for a separate national child protection policy.
The Ministry is likely to place before Parliament the draft Offences Against Children Bill. A website to track missing children is to be launched by July.
The study, conducted jointly by the UNICEF, Save the Children and Prayas, covered over 13 States and 12,000 children.