Police stations lack women cops to record statements of child victims: Survey

Kaumudi Kashikar Gurjar
Thursday, 10 May 2018

The survey done to identify the lacuna in the effective implementation of Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act, popularly known as POCSO Act 2012, revealed that 56% of police stations in 17 districts lack women police sub-inspector to record the statement of a minor victim. 

Mumbai: The survey done to identify the lacuna in the effective implementation of Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act, popularly known as POCSO Act 2012, revealed that 56% of police stations in 17 districts lack women police sub-inspector to record the statement of a minor victim. 
The survey revealed that there is one WPSI in 25 police stations in rural parts of the State. This survey was done under ‘Aarambh India’ project. 

69% hospitals mention status of hymen in medical report

The survey done to identify lacuna in effective implementation of Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, revealed that 56% of police stations in 17 districts lack women police sub-inspector (WPSI) to record the statement of a minor victim. 

The survey revealed there is one WPSI in 25 police stations in rural parts of the State. This survey was done under ‘Aarambh India’ project by Mumbai-based NGO Prerna. In the first of its kind survey, the urgent need to conduct training for all institutions involved in implementation of this Act came to the fore. 

Dr Pooja Kandula, who travelled in 17 districts, said, “In rural areas, we found there was shortage of women police officers but they are spirited enough to bring the law in the action. They ensured at least a woman officer was present to record the statement of the child. In some cases, a lady constable was recording the statement under the guidance of senior police inspector or Mahila Dakshata Committee member.” 

Dr Praveen Patkar, Co-Founder of Prena NGO said, “Most medical officers in hospitals are familiar with Indian Penal Code (IPC) and go by old school methods. For medical examinations of sexual offence victim, they follow 164A and there is gap between 164 A and POCSO. Some medical officers justify two finger test saying it is to determine injuries inside or to check elasticity of vagina and status of hymen. The objection was the two fingers test was used to prove if victim was accustomed to sex and thus used against the victim.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE SURVEY
Numbers say it all
 56%: Police stations have no woman police sub inspector(WPSI). For every 25 police stations in rural Maharashtra, there was only one WPSI.
 53%: No special public prosecutor in special courts established for hearing of POCSO cases.     
 69%: hospitals said it is important to mention elasticity of vagina and status of hymen to make the medical report effective.
 77%: Child Welfare Committees (CWC) have their chairman as officiating officer and do not have separate room to interact with child victim. 
 75%: CWCs do not have full quorum of five members 

Medical Test of Victim
 Due to shortage of vehicles, the family members are asked to bring the victims to district hospitals on their own.  
 Police officials often influence the outcome of medical test. 
 DNA samples are checked at forensic labs in Mumbai, causing a delay in obtaining medical report and submission of chargesheet.

Human resources a big problem
 Inadequate number of officers in District Child Protection Units (DCPUs). Those who work don’t get honorarium and lack mental strength for work. Not a single district has full quorum of 13 officials working under Integrated Child Protection scheme.  
 District Resource Directory carrying information about services, facilities and experts working in providing care and protection the child victim of sexual abuse is not being maintained. 
 48% government lawyers, 56% police officers, 43% CWC members, 43% hospitals and 34% DCPUs are not aware about their scope and responsibilities.
 Majority of stakeholders said the training they received was not enough.
(Source: Aarambh India is a joint project by Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Prerna and  ADM Capital Foundation. NGO Prerna is active to stop human trafficking and prostitution.)
 

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