#India – Little kids in slums more vulnerable to sexual abuse


CHILDRAPE

Ambika Pandit, TNN Apr 21, 2013,

NEW DELHI: The voices from 1,580 families in 28 slums, resettlement and unauthorized colonies of Delhi speak in unison about vulnerability of their children and why they are more likely to be victims of violence and sexual abuse than a child living in a planned neighbourhood.

With 75% of the mothers labouring to run the house, the children in the age group of 0-6 years are usually left in the care of an older sibling or the neighbour. But with more and more cases of sexual abuse by known persons, the neighbourhood is no longer the safest option, says a survey by a network of grassroot NGOs working on issues of children under six in urban poor settlements of the capital.

The survey, carried out last year by the network Neenv (Delhi Forces), was followed up with public hearings in various settlements to lay bare the struggles of these people in bringing up their children.

Chirashree Ghosh from Mobile Creches, an NGO which has been working with children in resettlements for over two decades, pointed out that the survey and public hearings brought to fore the vulnerabilities of children in these pockets, home to 64% of Delhi’s population.

The survey also found that just 59% families owned a house. Worse still, only 57% owned pucca houses, reflecting the poor economic status of the families. Adding to the difficulties is the social scenario, with 66% families being nuclear, 67% children below 6 years and 76% working mothers labouring hard to earn their daily bread.

In such a scenario, inadequate anganwadi facilities make survival tough. The survey found that just 20% children were benefitted from anganwadi centres. About 20% children were left under the care of older siblings who are often made to drop out of school to manage the smaller children . Nearly 18% kids are left with neighbours and 5% taken along by mothers. It was also seen that 9% accidents of children took place in the absence of parents.

According to the women and child development ministry’s 2010-11 report , the Rajiv GandhiCreche Scheme had reached 5.83 lakh children in India and 7,700 in Delhi. It is estimated that there are 16 crore children under 6 years in India and six crores require care.

The public hearings also revealed that the most vulnerable among the migrants living in the slums are also the children.

#India- Kerala Shame- Father, Brother and Uncle rape Minor, arrested #Vaw #Torture


 

 

Father, brother, uncle rape minor, arrested in Kerala
PTI
Thalassery, November 27, 2012

The father, brother and an uncle of a 13 year-old girl from nearby Dharmadom in north Kerala’s Kannur district have been arrested for allegedly raping the minor for the past two years.

The shocking incident came to light two days ago when the 8th standard student of a local school  was seen crying and refused to go home even after school hours. When one of her teachers enquired, the petrified girl narrated her plight. The school authorities immediately informed the police and a complaint was registered.

The girl’s father, her 15-year-old brother and an uncle have been arrested, Thalassery Circle Inspector, MV Vinod Kumar, who is probing the case said.

The brother has been sent to juvenile home while the other two were produced in court and remanded to judicial custody.

The girl told police that she was sexually assaulted by the three since she was in her sixth standard.

According to Vinod Kumar, the victim has also told the police that her elder sister, who had committed suicide two years ago, had also been raped.

Meanwhile, Kerala Vanitha Commission chairperson, K Rosakutty told PTI that the incident was an ‘insult’ to Kerala’s conscience.

The Commission would be writing to chief minister and home minister demanding re-enquiry into the case of the suicide of the victim’s elder sister.

“This is a shocking case of two minor sisters being raped by family members. The elder sister, an 8th standard student, had committed suicide is the police version. But it needs to be probed as no proper inquiry was done then”, she said, adding, both the cases were related.

As uncertainty looms large about the victim’s future, the Commission was prepared to take her under its care, she said.

The victim has been presently housed at a home run by the Child Welfare committee. Efforts needs to be made to ensure that there were no interference in the case, she said.

Strongly condemning the incident, K Ajitha, president of “Anweshi”, a women’s organisation, said anti-rape case clinics needs to be set up in the state as early as possible.

 

India-No law to protect child adopted within family


 

Sravani Sarkar, Hindustan Times
Bhopal, October 02, 2012

Six-year-old Shivani was raped and beaten to death by her paternal uncle and aunt, who were acting as her foster parents, in Indore. The father of the child, resident of a village in Uttar Pradesh, had handed over the child to Rajesh Sengar and Bebi four months ago. The child was physically and  sexually abused  all through her stay with her uncle and aunt and finally succumbed to her injuries.

September 16: A 12-year-old girl complained to her neighbours in Bagh Sewania (Bhopal) that her maternal uncle, with whom she and her three siblings were staying for last several months, tortured them and made them work like servants. Their father is in jail for murdering their mother. The police, Child Line and State Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights (SCPCR) intervened and finally handed over the three kids to their grandmother and paternal uncle.

August 2012: Neighbours in Koh-e-Fiza (Bhopal) called up Child Line to complain that two girls – aged 11 and 6 – were being regularly abused by their relatives to whom they had been handed over a few months ago. These kids were also treated like servants. The father of the kids had remarried after their mother died. Child Line and district Children’s Welfare Committee (CWC) intervened and handed over the children to their parents, despite lot of resistance from the “adopting” family.

These incidents do not only horrify, but also bring to light a dangerous legal loophole. There is practically no law or regulation that guides intra-family adoption – children who move from their biological parents to foster parents within the same wider family.

While there are strict procedures and rules in place for legal adoption of orphans or abandoned children, there is nothing to stop people from merely handing over their kids to friends or relatives apparently to ensure better care. Recent incidents suggest that these children are more often than not subjected to acute physical, mental and even sexual abuse by their relatives-turned-foster parents.

“There is nothing really in the law to stop people from doing this or to monitor the condition of such kids once they are handed over. The only way is to create massive awareness among people to spot and report any child abuse in their neighbourhood,” said state representative of National Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights (NCPCR) and Bhopal Child Line in-charge Archana Sahay.

She, however, said that in case there is a complaint about children being “informally” handed over, both the families that give away and receive the child could be booked. Sahay adds that a considerable number of cases of abuse by informal adoptive families have been reported in the recent past. “This indicates a very scary trend. People may be looking at adopting children of poor relatives as they find difficult to get full-time servants. And if the child is a girl, then the chances of sexual abuse increases,” she said.

Amita Jain, who heads the Bhopal-based adoption agency Matrichhaya, also expressed concern about such informal adoption process and stressed on the need of alertness on the part of neighbours to detect and report any such cases of abuse.

Even in cases of formal legal adoptions, post-adoption monitoring has been a weak area. This was revealed by Alok Sharma, the deputy director of the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) and in-charge of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) in MP.

Sharma conceded that post-adoption monitoring in case of even legal adoption is a neglected area. “There is of course nothing that we could do about informal adoption within families or friends,” he says. As for monitoring in case of formal adoption, the department is now thinking of involving the district ICPS officers in the process, said Sharma.

Who’s Watching?
The Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) monitors the process with support of the state-level agencies.

Once the legal process is completed and child is given for adoption, the adoptive families are expected to give quarterly reports about progress and well-being of the child to the adoption agencies as well as the court for three years.

The agencies are expected to submit half-yearly reports to CARA or a state agency for two years after adoption.

Adoption agencies have to often pressure adoptive families to give the report. Also in cases where the child goes for adoption out of the city or state, it becomes difficult to monitor, says Amita Jain of Matrichhaya.

The state government is thinking of starting external monitoring through the district ICPS officers.

How the “Pro-Life” Movement Puts Women Behind Bars


In Alabama, the claim that eggs, embryos and fetuses have separate legal rights has led to the jailing of 60 women.

Numerous organizations and leaders who identify themselves as pro-life have assured the public that their efforts to re-criminalize abortion and establish the unborn as separate legal persons will not result in the prosecution and imprisonment of women. Yet, in Alabama alone, the claim that eggs, embryos and fetuses have separate legal rights has provided the basis for arresting approximately 60 women.

These women are being prosecuted under Alabama’s 2006 law designed to provide special penalties for people who bring children into methamphetamine laboratories. Its official title is “Endangerment of Exposing a Child to an Environment in Which Controlled Substances are Produced or Distributed” and it provides that a person “commits the crime of chemical endangerment” by “exposing a child to an environment in which he or she…knowingly, recklessly, or intentionally causes or permits a child to be exposed to, to ingest or inhale, or to have contact with a controlled substance.”

This law makes no mention of pregnancy, pregnant woman, drug use, fetus, or any other words that would make it applicable to a pregnant woman who uses a controlled substance and seeks to continue her pregnancy to term. In fact, the Alabama legislature has repeatedly refused to amend this law or to create others that would address the issue of pregnancy and drug use through the criminal law.

Nevertheless prosecutors have argued, and the Alabama’s Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed, that the word “child” in the statute includes a “viable fetus” and therefore may be used to arrest and jail women who become pregnant, eschew abortion, go to term, and try to bring life into this world, despite having used a controlled substance.

The Appeals Court decision reaches far beyond women who use illegal drugs or even drug use at all. Many prescription drugs are controlled substances and there is no defense under the law if the drug is prescribed to the pregnant woman. This means that a pregnant woman who is prescribed a controlled substance (and her doctor who prescribed it) are now potentially subject to criminal penalties as well. And, if the word “child” in one Alabama criminal laws means “viable fetus,” then surely it would have to mean the same thing in others – including the state’s child abuse and related laws. This means that women are potentially criminally liable for an unlimited range of actions, inactions or circumstances during pregnancy believed by police and prosecutors to pose a risk of harm to the fetus. (Think “personhood” measure in disguise.)

Hope Ankrom and Amanda Kimbrough are two of the 60 women who have been charged under the chemical endangering law – not for running meth labs or bringing children to them, but rather for continuing their pregnancies to term in spite of having a drug problem. Ankrom and Kimbrough have appealed their convictions to the Alabama Supreme Court.

Forty-seven medical, public health and legal advocacy groups and individuals, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the American Nurses Association filed an amicus (friend of the court) brief in support of these mothers. They urge the court to reverse the lower court’s radical extension of the chemical endangering law to permit prosecution and punishment of new mothers, pregnant women, and their doctors.

These organizations and experts explain that while they do not in any way endorse the use of illegal drugs during pregnancy, medical consensus is that illegal drug use by pregnant women does not pose risks qualitatively different or greater than a wide range of other actions, inactions, exposures, and circumstances engaged in or experienced by pregnant women, such as smoking cigarettes.

Read more at Alternet