Violence against children is a global phenomenon. As per statistical analysis of violence against children by UNICEF, too many children worldwide are affected by such violence, yet it is rarely acknowledged, in part because it is so commonplace. The repercussions are not inconsequential, with ripple effects throughout society as well as future generations.
It is an appalling violation of children’s trust, a repulsive breach of peoples commitment to protect the innocent.
Most violence against children involves at least six main types of interpersonal violence that tends to occur at different stages in a child’s development and includes maltreatment which as per WHO involves physical, sexual, psychological violence, neglect of infants, children and adolescents by parents, caregivers and other authority figures, most often in the home as also in schools or orphanages.
The violence against children has lifelong impacts on the health and wellbeing of children, families, communities and nations. Sexually abused children suffer from a multitude of psychiatric disorders like TSD, depression, suicidal tendencies and have higher chances of developing alcohol and drug dependencies.
A number of cases have already come to fore in Jammu and Kashmir and continue unabated.
Reliable estimates are hard to come by since this is a furtive form of abuse, often causing victims to suffer in dark and claustrophobic silence.
As per UNICEF, the first step in curbing all forms of violence against children is bringing the issue to light – in all its complexity.
Governments have a pivotal role along with societies in curbing such violence. There is a pressing need to fast-track all the child sexual abuse cases to ensure that the guilty especially serial offenders who pose threat to society are punished at the earliest and are kept in custody. Also, the government needs to look into declaring applicable retrospectively the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and allowing the retrospective application of POSCO Act in cases where the FIR has been filed prior to the passing of the Act. Also importantly there is a need to devise a strategy for the prevention of child sexual abuse and create awareness about the abuse and preventive measures. The international convention on the Rights of the Child guarantees that children everywhere should live free from all forms of violence. For this to happen, the true nature and extent of the problem must be documented especially when the majority of such crimes are committed by their own family members and the people closest to them.