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Crime against Children

According to National Crime Records Bureau and NHRC

  • Crime against children increased by 3.8% nationally (14,975 cases in 2005 from 14,423 in 2004).

  • Child rape increased by 13.7% (4,026 cases from 3,542 in 2004); Madhya Pradesh reported the highest number (870) followed by Maharashtra (634).Together they accounted for 37.3% of rape cases.

  • Delhi tops a list of 35 Indian cities on crime against children (852 cases of violence against children in 2005, 27% of all cases) followed by Indore (448), Pune (314) and Mumbai (303).

  • 1,327 children were reported murdered in 2005 up from 1,304 in 2004 (an increase of 1.8%).Uttar Pradesh reported the highest number (390) accounting for 29.4% of cases.

  • Nearly 45,000 children go missing every year; more than 11,000 are never traced.

  • 3,518 children were kidnapped in 2005 (301 from Delhi, 3,196 in 2004, 2,571 in 2003).

Children who form 42% of the India’s population are at risk on the streets, at their workplace and even inside their own homes. The recent Nithari case has highlighted the plight of children of migrant workers. There has been a 40% increase in intra-state migration in the last 10 years. While migrant do get employment there is no safety net for their children; they get neither education nor healthcare. Single migrant children or children of migrant workers are often not counted anywhere- census or any government scheme.

According to the study conducted by NGO Shakti Vahini in 2006, 378 of the 593 districts in India are affected by human trafficking the children being the most affected. They are easy prey for traffickers who lure them from villages with the promise of employment. The street children are perceived as vagrants by the police and with no legal safeguards to protect them violence and exploitation are daily routine for them. India has the largest number of street children in the world. In 2001 it was estimated that there are 100,000 to 125,000 street children each in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi with 45,000 in Bangalore.

In terms of budget allocation 4.91% of Union Budget 2006-07 has been allocated for health, education, development and protection of children.The share of resources for child protection is minuscule-0.034%.Child protection has never figured in any planning document so far.

There are several laws but the problem is with the implementation. The Central Monitoring Commission which is supposed to monitor crime against children under the Juvenile Justice Act was amended in 2000.This committee has not met even once since the amendment. The Act stated that every police station should have a juvenile police unit but this is still not being followed. The offences against children bill which provides protection against sexual abuse also awaits cabinet nod.

According to child rights activitists to avoid crimes against children it is important to have community level child protection mechanisms like community watch dogs and committees for child protection, child welfare and anti-trafficking. These will create an interface between communities and state/district mechanisms. These can also monitor vulnerable children in communities and provide a base where people can report and address issues like abuse, exploitation and neglect. Creating spaces within communities and schools so that children can report offences against them can be also done. To overcome lack of awareness about child protection laws the information dissemination is important.

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