Articles

Let’s care for our children

Let’s care for our children
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 12/3/2018 4:29:36 AM IST

 Our children are the rock on which our future will be built, our greatest asset as a nation... 

The true character of society is revealed in how it treats its children.

India is home to almost 19 percent of the world’s children. More than 440 million of its population is below the age of 18 years. That means more than one third of the country’s population are children. It is estimated that in India: 

• Around 170 million children in India are living in difficult circumstances and are in need of care and protection. 

• Around 11 million children live on the streets (UNICEF). 

• More than 10.1 million working children in the age group of 5 to 14 years and 33 million between the ages of 5-18 years (Census 2011).

• Every day, around 150 children go missing (National Crime Record Bureau 2016).

• 1 in 4 children are out of school and around 99 million children in total have dropped out of school (Census 2011).

• Cases of juvenile delinquency are increasing at an alarming rate 

A study carried out by Ministry of Women and Child Development on Child abuse [Study on Child Abuse- INDIA 2007] had revealed that:

• Two out of every three children were physically abused. Out of those children physically abused in family situations, 88.6% were physically abused by parents.

• 65% of school going children reported facing corporal punishment i.e. two out of three children were victims of corporal punishment.

• 50.2% children worked seven days a week.

• 53.22% children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. 50% abuses are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility.

• Every second child reported facing emotional abuse. In 83% of the cases parents were the abusers.

CHILDREN IN NEED OF CARE AND PROTECTION (CNCP)  IN NAGALAND

As per the Juvenile Justice Act, the Child Welfare Committees (CWC) are the competent authority to deal with any/all matters related to the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of the Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP). As required by the Act the Child Welfare Committee is constituted in all the districts of Nagaland. The following table shows the CNCP cases produced before Child Welfare Committee from 1st April 2013 – 31st March 2018.REGISTERED CASES OF CHILDREN IN NEED OF CARE AND PROTECTION (CNCP)  IN NAGALAND WITH THE CWC

CHILD WELFARE COMMITTEE (March 2013-March 2018 DESTITUTE/Mostly children residing in CCIs MISSING/ Lost and found RUNAWAY DOMESTIC HELPER/ CHILD LABOUR SEXUAL ABUSE/ RAPE OF MINOR PHYSICAL ABUSE TRAFFICKING FAMILY AT RISK/ DISPLACED FAMILY ABANDONED/ORPHANED SURRENDERED CCL & BEHAVIORAL PROBLEM CHILDREN DIFFERENTLY ABLED CHILD STREET CHILDREN TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES REPORTED

DISTRICT M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F M F

DIMAPUR 2 1 43 44 58 37 8 24 - 16 4 - 2 8 2 15 7 2 - 1 3 5 3 3 1 2 133 161

KOHIMA 53 25 9 9 19 6 1 1 - 7 3 5 - - 1 - 20 8 27 9 4 - - - - - 167 70

PEREN 8 8 1 2 2 - - - - 2 1 - 3 7 - - 1 7 - - - 1 - - - - 16 27

PHEK - - - - - - 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 Records unavailable

MOKOKCHUNG - - 5 2 4 4 - - - 1 2 - - - - - 2 - - - 1 - - - - 9 10

ZUNHEBOTO 41 14 10 11 23 11 11 10 - 7 2 1 - - - 3 1 1 - - - - - - - - 88 58

WOKHA 11 12 4 2 1 3 - 1 - 2 2 1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18 21

TUENSANG 8 2 - 1 6 7 - - - 3 1 1 9 - - - - - 1 - - - - - - - 25 14

MON 18 14 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 18 14

LONGLENG - - - - 1 - - - - - 1 - - - - - 2 - - 1 - - - - - - 4 1

KIPHIRE - - - - 1 3 - - - 3 10 6 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 11 12

TOTAL 141 76 72 71 115 71 22 36 16 24 16 14 15 3 18 31 20 28 11 7 7 3 3 1 2 491 388

*the above data is purely based on the number of cases produced before Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and does not include unreported cases.
DESTITUTE AND CHILDREN FROM POOR FAMILIES: These categories of children are produced before CWC because the parents are financially and economically poor and couldn’t afford to provide the basic needs of their children. Their parents are usually daily wage earners, cultivators with large family or single parents. Such children are usually forwarded to Child Care Institutions (CCIs) or are given sponsorship for their education under CPS scheme. Interestingly 65% of the case brought before CWC are boys which highlight the attitude of the family towards a girl child as an extra hand in the family, while the boys can avail benefit of education and secure their future though CCIs.
MISSING CHILDREN/LOST AND FOUND: Children irrespective of gender goes missing from home for various reason, such as negligence of the parents in monitoring their child whereabouts, domestic problem at home, afraid to return home due to fear of punishment from parents/guardians, disobedient children who stays away from home along with their friends without informing parents and travelling to towns/cities without proper guardian etc. Most of these children were found loitering around in public places.
RUNAWAY:  Most children were found to have run away from home due to the problems at home, broken families, ill-treatment from step-parents or abusive and alcoholic parents, avoid going to school or to elope with boyfriend/girlfriend etc. As per the records, 62% of runaway cases are boys.
DOMESTIC HELPER/CHILD LABOUR: Child labour is one of the most common issues in the state. Many people prefer children as domestic helpers because they can work for hours without complaining and usually remain silent even if they are abused. Economically poor Families/Parent(s) are lured to send their children to work as a helper with the promise that in exchange the child’s education and other needs shall be met. The figures of domestic helper/child labour in the given table are those cases that are brought before CWCs mostly due to report of abuse by owners. Number of children working as child domestic helper is huge and the actual figures are unavailable. 
SEXUAL ABUSE/RAPE: In all the cases of sexual abuse and rape of minor girls, the accused is either a family member or know to the child. Majority of sexual abuse and rape cases are not reported due to fear of stigmatization and shame and are often resolved within the family members and the victims are left with no assistance to deal with the trauma that they had gone through. 
PHYSICAL AND MENTAL ABUSE: The perpetrator of physically and mentally abusing a child are usually step-parents, abusive and alcoholic parents, guardians of the child living as helpers in their family or even bullied by friends.
CHILD TRAFFICKING: The modus operandi of child traffickers is to target poor families and convince them to part with their children with the promise that they will be given free education or given job training and even employ them with attractive salary. Parents often fall prey to such ploy and readily send their children to other towns and cities with the hope for a bright future for their children. 
FAMILY AT RISK:  Family at risk are those families where the parents are infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, broken families, divorce and fighting for child custody, parents negligence in taking care of the child, domestic violence, alcoholic father/mother etc. children from such families are mentally and emotionally abused at home and often ends up with psychological problems as they grow up.
ABANDONED/ORPHANED:  Orphans are those whose parents have died and are left alone with no one to take care of them. In the case of abandoned child, the parents may be alive or survived by single parents but the parents willfully reject the child from been part of the family. 
SURRENDERED CHILD:  In majority of the case, a child is surrendered to CWC because the child was born out of wedlock or by single mother who is not in a position to take care of the child. Such children are sent to adoption centre after declaring legally free for adoption and are given to couples who are willing to adopt a child after completing all legal procedure. In all, 72% of the surrendered children are boys. Kohima CWC had received the maximum number of surrendered child.
CHILD IN CONTACT WITH LAW (CCL) AND CHILDREN WITH BEHAVIORAL PROBLEM: A child in contact with law are children who are victims and witnesses of crimes, such children need special protection and counseling to cope with the crime they have witnessed or had happened to them. Children with behavioral problem are those creating nuisance/problem at home or in their community or involving in anti-social activities. Such children are given counseling and proper guidance by experts.
STREET CHILDREN: unlike other metropolitan cities, Nagaland had very few cases brought before CWC related to street children. Street children are those children experiencing poverty, homelessness or both, who are living on the street of a city, town or even village.  They survive on scraps and rag picking.
A total of just 879 CNCP cases of children were reported to CWCs from 2013 – 2018, which is a serious concern. The figures reflect disturbing trend of poor reporting / non-reporting of child related cases in the state.  The fast changing lifestyle of our society has exposed our children to new and different forms of abuse. However, many of this abuse are still not reported. Independent India has initiated a lot of policies, programmes, schemes and legislations for the welfare, development and protection of the children. However, unless community takes ownership and come forward violation of child rights will continue. 
JUVENILE JUSTICE BOARD (JJB)
As per Juvenile Justice Act, the State Government has constituted Juvenile Justice Boards in all the district, to deal with cases in relation to Juvenile in Conflict with Law.
The Board ensures that the child’s rights are protected throughout the process of apprehending the child, inquiry, aftercare and rehabilitation.
REGISTERED CASES OF CHILDREN CHILD IN CONFLICT (CCL) IN NAGALAND WITH JJB
Juvenile Justice Board (march 2013-march 2018) Serious 
Offence Petty
Offence Total
District M F M F
DIMAPUR 35 22 57
KOHIMA 26 62 5 93
PEREN 7 19 26
PHEK 1 7 8
MOKOKCHUNG 6 1 6 1 14
ZUNHEBOTO 19 2 13 34
WOKHA 5 29 34
TUENSANG 3 25 28
MON 11 4 15
LONGLENG 3 7 10
KIPHIRE 1 15 16
117 3 209 6 335
 

*the above data is purely based on the number of cases produced before Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) from 1st April 2013 -31st March 2018 and does not include unreported cases.

SERIOUS OFFENCE: These offences include; Murder, attempt murder,  aid and abet murder, malicious wounding causing grievous bodily harm, rape, sexual and indecent assaults, possession of drugs and arms, Robbery, extortion, housebreaking and vandalizing public property, Criminal intimidation,  extortion/dacoity, repeated offender etc.  
Children involvement in serious offence are often the result of poor parental discipline and supervision, peer pressure and action at the behest of adult members, drugs and alcohol misuse, poor educational attainment and trouble home life.
PETTY OFFENCES:  These offences includes; stealing of money, mobile phone, life stocks, minor assault and offensive behaviors which are not serious in nature. In majority of the cases, children living away from parents are more prone to committing such offence due to peer pressure and lack of adult supervision. Many resort to such offences in order to meet their desire to own modern gadgets, substance abuse and trendy life style. Petty offender committing serious offences were also recorded due to lack/failure of proper intervention. The trend of children involvement in crime is increasing and record shows boys constitute 97% and girl 3% of the CCL in the state.
In most of the districts, the cases of children in conflict with law (CCL) produced before JJB is less due to the fact that they are never brought before the appropriate authority. These cases are dealt as per the customary law by youth organization, colony union, and village council etc.  This limits the scope for providing right intervention for the Juvenile so that he/she may grow to be an asset not a liability for the society. 
Conclusion
Protecting Children from violence, abuse, trafficking, neglect and exploitation is everybody’s responsibility. Families, communities, government and NGOs together need to play a vital role in realizing children’s rights to protection. Children can also play an important role in protecting themselves from abuse and exploitation, in accordance with their evolving capacities. Families and community involvement is vital in children protection, even when adequate protection services and structure exist and are operating effectively because they are the first responder or contact persons to a child. 
Every individual in society must share the responsibility to protect child rights and report cases of child abuse and neglect to appropriate authority for the betterment and welfare of the child.
Know the child protection services available in your locality. Remember Children are protected under special Law and this Law works for the “BEST INTEREST OF THE CHILDREN”

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