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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Crime against kids rises 16% in 2 years in Maharashtra


Madhavi Rajadhyaksha TNN 


Mumbai: Maharashtra is becoming increasingly unsafe for children, with violent crime against them increasing by 16% from 2009 to 2011. Worryingly, the conviction rate for the same showed a near fourpoint drop in this period. 
    Police records show that 201 children were murdered, 858 kidnapped and 818 girls raped in 2011. 
    While 2,894 instances of violent crime against children were recorded in 2009, the number grew to 3,362 in 2011. But the conviction rate fell from 13.6% to 9.9%. 
    "It is a sad state of affairs. People get away with such crimes and others are afraid to report them," said Asha Bajpai, dean, school of law, Tata Institute of Social Sciences. 
    Advocate Flavia Agnes of voluntary organization Majlis believes children of both sexes need to be sensitised from a young age. "Most children do not know what to do; precau
tionary measures are generally lacking in society today," she said, suggesting that children should be taught to respect the body at the school stage and taught about abuse or assault and who to approach if they feel violated. 
    Child rights activists also say that police figures of crime against children are often underreported and the real picture may be more disturbing. 
    Bajpai said the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Bill, 2011, is likely to offer succour as it offers legal protection for children, which was missing till date. "The law would incorporate childfriendly provisions, extend protection to child witnesses and ensure mandatory reporting of such crimes by anyone who comes across them." The bill provides for separate courts, thereby ensuring speedier justice. Information about it needs to be widely disseminated so that everyone is aware of the provisions, Bajpai said.


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