New Delhi, March 19: Here are a few worrisome facts about rising crime graph against children in India. While in 2015, India recorded 94,172 cases of crimes against children, it went up to 1,06,958 in 2016. Further, a total of 1,11,569 children (41,175 boys and 70,394 girls) were reported to have been missing in 2016. These frightening figures are a part of the latest data released by the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB), reported PTI.
The officials of NCRB say that crime against children in India has increased by a sharp 11 per cent between 2015 and 2016. The NCRB report finds an echo in the cumulative analysis done by the CRY (Child Rights and You), an NGO, which shows how crime against children is witnessing an upward trend with a significant increase of more than 500 per cent over a period of the past one decade (1,06,958 in 2016 over 18,967 in 2006).
Quoting these NCRB data, Komal Ganotra, Director Policy and Advocacy at CRY told PTI, "While this steep rise in numbers might have been the result of increased awareness among the people at large and the law enforcing agencies in recording crimes, it also indicates that children have become increasingly exposed to the risk of becoming victims in recent years."
Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and West Bengal are the states where crimes against children are more. More than 50 per cent of crimes against children have been recorded in these five states, says the NCRB report. While Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 15 per cent of recorded crimes against children, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh closely follow with 14 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
Among the crimes against children, kidnapping and rape top the list. Kidnapping and abduction form almost half of the total crimes (48.9 per cent, number of crimes 52,253) as recorded in 2016.
The next biggest category of crime against children in terms of number is rape, amounting to more than 18 per cent of all crimes against children, while all crimes under POCSO Act constitutes around 33 per cent of the total crimes.
Crimes under POCSO Act include primarily rape, sexual assault against children, sexual harassment and child pornography, among others. A detail analysis suggests that Uttar Pradesh recorded maximum number of crimes under the categories of "kidnapping and abduction" and "POCSO Act", while Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh stand in the second and third slot respectively in both these categories.
A new chapter on "Missing Persons and Children" which has been included in this year's NCRB release in compliance with the Supreme Court directives, shows that a total of 1,11,569 children (41,175 boys and 70,394 girls) were reported to have been missing.
The maximum cases were reported from West Bengal (15.1 per cent) during 2016. A total of 55,944 children were traced at the end of the year 2016 in the country. Ganotra said, "Going by the current trend reflected in the government data, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh along with some other states continue to show worrying trends in the magnitude of crime against children."
"This is a grim reminder of the fact that we, as a country, do not have proper prevention mechanisms in place to address the issue of child protection, nor are we keen on building more empathetic understanding and intervention plans adequately backed up by sustained investment on child security," she said.
Elaborating on the way forward on tackling increasing crimes against children, Ganotra added, "Child protection in our country cannot be ensured with just having legislations and numerous guidelines.
"We as a country need to commit in cultivating a culture of zero tolerance to violence against children. We should be vigilant and cognizant of the fact that children are at risk with gaps in infrastructure, processes and systems."
Ganotra urged the governments and all law enforcing agencies to equip themselves in recognising these risks and put robust systems and processes to assess and eliminate the same without compromising with them.
Nagarathna, a child rights activist from Bengaluru, Karnataka stressed that awareness against crimes against children is the need of the hour. "We need to discuss the issues related to children. Children should be made a part of the awareness programmes in schools and homes."