Delhi Police data says that more than two child rapes happened every day in the national capital in the first four months of this year. This worrying state of affairs has called for rehabilitation policy for the survivors.

The year started with rape of a eight-month-old infant by her cousin in New Delhi’s Netaji Subhash Place. Then in April, Ghaziabad police recorded the rape of a 10-year-old girl in a madrassa. The police claim that the accused took her from Ghazipur on the pretext of meeting his friends.

The father of the victim has said that the incident happened a month back and she is still struggling to come out of it and feels scared. “She loses her temper very quickly. She hasn’t been able to step out of the home after the incident and is scared. Earlier, she was counselled but after that she has not received any counselling,” he said.

After a slew of crimes against minor girls not just in New Delhi but across the country, activists have asked for better rehabilitation policies for young survivors.

Delhi Commission For Women Chairperson Swati Maliwal, who started the Rape Roko movement and went on a hunger strike until the government amended the laws against rape against minor girls, said that police show lack of sensitivity because of the burden of cases and added that sometimes, even the parents blame the children.

“We have seen the parents blaming the children saying, ‘all is lost’. For a child, it is traumatic and confusing. The parents have no idea how to handle their children,” she said.

“Also, there is a lack of sensitivity on the part of police since they are also handling many cases at the same time. There is an acute shortage of women investigating officers,” the women’s panel chief added.

However, the police clarified that they ensure women officers deal with cases of sexual assault against minors but sometimes they come across as insensitive because of the delay in reaching out to survivors.

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“The law says that women investigating officers will handle child rapes. Many a times, it happens that the women officers have left for home after finishing their eight-hour shifts,” a senior police officer said.

“If we lodge such a complaint, we prefer to call women personnel for these cases and that sometimes causes a delay of a couple of hours, making the victim’s family feel that the police do not understand their trauma,” the officer said.

It further claimed that they ensure that the minor always speaks in the presence of a counsellor, which also in some situations causes a delay of couple of hours. They said that in most cases the accused is from within the family of the survivor.

“A proper hand-holding for the victim at least from the time of the incident till the conviction should happen. The government should frame a rehabilitation policy for such victims,” – Swati Malliwal

“A proper hand-holding for the victim at least from the time of the incident till the conviction should happen. The government should frame a rehabilitation policy for such victims,” Malliwal said.

On the other hand, advocate and child rights activist Ananth Kumar Asthana asked for proper comprehensive assistance for survivors.

“Counselling is indeed necessary for helping the victims deal with the trauma but not in an ad-hoc manner. Mere counselling is not sufficient in many cases. Individualistic support to the victims based on needs of the child and the State must commit to provide a comprehensive support to victims either through a legislation or through a scheme,” he said.

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