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India becomes aware: allegations of crimes against minors are shot 500% in 10 years

Denunciations grow 500% in a decade, but the shortcomings of the judicial system make it difficult to enforce the law

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India becomes aware: allegations of crimes against minors are shot 500% in 10 years

Children's crimes shock India with undesirable frequency and cruelty. The last and most flagrant, rape and murder of a minor in Kashmir shook country this week. When y are not rapes, y are kidnappings or incest; Complaints have increased by 11% over previous year. And more criminal barbarism, more atrocities of politicians; Driven by electoralism or ignorance. Thus, Minister for Women and Child Development announced her intention to harden juvenile's law with death sentences. While a local deputy recommended leaving " Western idea of dating" to protect indies. Experts, on or hand, underline need for more sexual education and better application of existing legislation to reinforce growing social awareness of this scourge.

According to latest report by National Criminal Registration Office (NCBR), violence against minors increased by 2016; Specifically 12,786 events more than 95,000 of previous year. The most numerous are disappearances and rapes; 48.9% and 18% of total, respectively. The figures also indicate an increase of 500% in allegations of se crimes since last decade.

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"India strives to tackle child violence. It adopts decisive laws and society has become aware of seriousness of problem, "explains Javier Aguilar, UNICEF child protection officer; Who underlines catalytic role of a young woman's multiple rape in 2012. "Now it is more denounced. For example, ten years ago, criminal record barely counted 300 child marriages, although annual health services surveys estimated 1.5 million cases. This UN agency places India as third country in world with more child homicides.

"Urbanization and migratory movements increase children's vulnerability," says Komal Ganotra, director of research at Child Rights and You (CRY), a national organization with decades of child advocacy experience. The lack of opportunities in rural India makes impoverished, overpopulated and border areas such as Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal spearhead list of regions with most crimes. Also, child distress and migration make "Delhi, and or states, a potential market for acquisition and exploitation of children," he adds in reference to capital; Which completes – toger with Maharashtra – five states with most allegations of child violence in India.

Bombay, capital of Maharashtra, is a paradigm of fight against crime. India's financial center welcomes more than 22 million inhabitants – many migrants; of which 42% live in marginality of slums. But ir figures endorse it as one of cities with best application of law. In Bombay, rate of convictions for crimes against minors is 62%; Well above scant 22% of Delhi. "Our police record reports of disappearance as cases of kidnapping or traffic after first 72 hours, to accelerate search in those crucial moments," exemplifies Praveen S. Ghuge, President of State Commission for Protection of Children's rights in Maharashtra.

The new legislation has also contributed to increase in complaints; such as Child Care Act of 2015 or Child Protection Act for Sexual Offences (POCSO) of 2012. The latter, for example, obliges denunciation of sexual crimes; Which means that any agent who does not record such aggression is facing a criminal penalty.

However, a recent analysis of effectiveness of POCSO also highlights gaps. It clarifies, for example, why most kidnappings record women aged 16 to 18 years as victims. Often, experts say, girls elope with ir partners because y do not have approval of ir families; Who denounce m to clean ir image. "We must reduce age of consent. Criminalizing sexual activity of a child under 18 is harmful in a society divided into castes and religions, which considers love relationships as blemishes in family honor, "argues Bharti Ali, founder of Center for rights of minor HAQ. This explains cases of Uttar Pradesh or Madhya Pradesh; Impoverished and patriarchal states, where high presence of low and tribal castes causes parents to denounce as abductions what are consensual relationships between members of different communities.

Education and protection to alleviate loopholes in legislation

In a vast and unequal country like India, delays in police investigations and overflow of judicial system hinder law enforcement. In 2016, only 226 complaints were resolved (remaining 101,326 pending trial), despite fact that aforementioned law POCSO had as its mission to resolve cases in less than a year after complaint. "There is a special budget. How will courts fit for minors be created if re is no economic investment? "complains Bharti Ali. The lack of special courts for crimes against disabled children turns se cases into insurmountable dramas as denounced by a study by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

To lack of investment, lack of knowledgeable authorities of new legislation joins; Including police or jurists. This is recognized by lawyer Anant K. Asthana, who underlines or unfavorable aspects of law. "Some victims do not denounce because y understand that y should have done so before; Since not reporting se cases is also considered an offense, "reasons this defender of minor in Delhi, territory of India that more crimes of this type recorded in relation to its population.

Anant K. Asthana also explains high number of trials that end with acquittal or bail, more than 70% of processes registered in capital. "The POCSO law imposes compulsory minimum punishments; Main reason for dismissal of many cases ". This measure is counterproductive in a country where many of those responsible for sexual assault are members of family itself; As happened in rape of an eight-month-old baby by his cousin in Delhi earlier this year. "Compulsory minimum punishments do not make sense in se cases. Unable to enforce law in ir discretion and impose minor penalties, judges tend to prolong judicial custody of defendant until release. The situation is worsening in case of incest, because families are economically dependent on defendant and judges avoid major sentences, "explains Bharti Ali.

Experts argue that greater protection and compensation of child would solve many legal deficiencies. "Too many families change housing because of fear of guilt or humiliation," describes Komal Ganotra, who insists on this aspect so that psychological and economic costs of trials can be addressed. Javier Aguilar fully agrees and adds no less important role of education: "You cannot end sexual assaults without talking about sexuality. Sex education is a taboo in India, but it is essential to protect children and educate children. "

Beyond punitive norms, re is an urgent need to reinforce child care of an unprotected population in face of changing geographical and socioeconomic factors. "The common notion is that ' outside world is unsafe. ' But vulnerability begins in bosom of family and in its closest environment, "summarizes Ganotra. In more than 90% of cases reported, juveniles know criminals.


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