Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Child sexual abuse cases on the rise in Mnp



Manipur social welfare minister Heikham Dingo Singh on Saturday stressed the need for a proactive role by stakeholders and guardians of the law to stem the alarmingly rise in child sexual abuse cases in the state.
As per an official record in the state social welfare department, a total of 161 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 19 months (from April 1, 2021 and October 31, 2022.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the one-day State Level Consultation on Effective Implementation of POCSO Act, 2012 in Imphal’s City Convention Centre, the minister observed that cases related to child sexual abuse in the state were increasing at an alarming rate for the last one year.
“161 cases under POCSO Act in 19 months in a small state like Manipur is a matter of grave concern,” the minister said.
There would be many unreported cases particularly in hill districts where tribal communities settle such cases through their customary laws. This needs an investigation, he said.
In hill villages, customary laws prevented reporting of most of the sexual abuses cases of children, the minister said.
The minister observed lack of parental care in the society and drug abuse as main factors for the rise in the POCSO cases.
“Relationship between children and parents are drifting apart due to lack of parental care. It is one of the main reasons behind children losing morale,” Singh said.
Increasing drug abuse is also contributing to the rise in POCSO cases, he added.
To stop such crimes in the state, all stakeholders, including CSOs, women bodies, local youth clubs and student organizations should cooperate, he said.
Highlighting various initiatives of the state to stop such crimes, the minister said, the state social welfare department has been organizing mass awareness programmes on POCSO Act in all districts across the state.
He said the awareness programmes will help create awareness among people and also in stopping crimes, especially sexual abuses against children.
Speaking at the function, chief justice of High Court of Manipur PV Sanjay Kumar related the carving of the POCSO Act, 2012 with the inadequacy of the Indian Penal Code to effectively address and counter heinous crimes such as sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children.
The increase in reporting of sexual crimes against children since the enactment of the Act was indeed very encouraging, he said.
“The POCSO Act, 2012 is the most effective tool to combat crimes against children,” he added.
The chief justice added that any inhuman act such as sexual abuses should be immediately reported to the authorities concerned, so that follow-up actions can be initiated against the culprits.
The High Court of Manipur organized the consultation programme to mark 10 years since the implementation of POCSO Act 2012.
The inaugural function was also attended by members of Manipur Legal Service Authorities, National Legal Service Authorities, officials of the state social welfare department, Manipur Juvenile Justice Board, Child Welfare Board, leaders of CSOs and law enforcement agencies.

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