Pune: According to Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and Rules, 2012, a child sexual abuse must be reported to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, but the Chatuhshrungi police didn’t follow the act in the sexual abuse case of a 6-year-old girl studying at a renowned school on Sus Road in Pashan.
As informed by Chatuhshrungi police, the complaint regarding the sexual abuse of the minor girl was reported to the police on August 24. The complaint was filed by the family of the girl after they suspected that the girl is facing some problem and has been sexually assaulted. However, it’s been more than four days that the Child Welfare Committee has not been informed by the police.
When questioned, investigating officer API Kiran Madne said, “We have not informed them yet, but will inform them soon.”
Why not informed?
On questioning further about the rules to inform the CWC within 24 hours, the IO mistook POCSO for ‘Manodhairya’ scheme and said, “It not compulsory to inform the CWC within 24 hours we can inform them even after a week so that the family of victim can get compensation.”
A source in the police department said, “The Chatuhshrungi police is taking the statement of the minor and has not been able to reach a conclusion as the minor is changing her statement every time.”
CWC so far unaware about case details
Anita Vipat, Chairman of CWC, said, “We have not been informed by Chatuhshrungi police about the sexual assault of the girl. As per POCSO rules, it’s mandatory on their part to inform us. The intervention of CWC is necessary as it helps in counselling of the child so that she/he can come out of trauma. Members of CWC know how to talk to a minor and can get things revealed easily from them. Many a times, children reveal important aspects of the case in front of CWC members.”
Counselling of victims of utmost importance
In the light of these incidents, it is important to counsel a child, said Anjali Pawar, child rights activist. “Counselling of a child is very important in cases of sexual abuse. It is mandatory for the police to inform CWC about such cases. Counselling not only helps in reaching the culprit, but it’s of utmost importance for the welfare of child. On the basis of counselling, CWC also decides whether the child should remain with her/his parents or is required to stay in an institution.”
Rules under POCSO Act
† Mandatory to register an FIR in all cases of child abuse
† Child’s statement can be recorded at home or a place of their choice
† Statement preferably taken by a woman police officer not below the rank of SI
† Statement of the child be recorded verbatim
† Child’s medical examination can be conducted even before registration of FIR or no later than 24 hours of FIR
† Must be reported to Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours of receiving the complaint
† Child to be questioned only once and in a child-friendly environment
† At night, no child can be detained in a police station
† Frequent breaks for the child during trial
† Child cannot be called repeatedly to testify
† For offences under POCSO, the burden of proof is on the accused, keeping in view the vulnerability and innocence of children. To prevent misuse of the law, punishment has been provided for false complaints or false information with malicious intention