Centre submits report on sexual abuse victims in child care institutions

New Delhi: The Centre told the Supreme Court that 1,575 minors, who were victims of sexual abuse, and 189 victims of pornography were living in 9,589 child care institutions across the country.

The Centre, while referring to a study conducted on child care institutions across the country, told the apex court that there were 9,382 children in such homes – 6,928 boys and 2,454 girls – in conflict with the law.

“Information regarding registration of cases under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offence (POCSO) Act, 2012, has been collected.

The number of children found to be victims of sexual abuses is 1,575 (girls-1,286 and boys-286) and victims of pornography to be 189 (girls-40 and boys-149),” the government told a bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur.

“However, it may be mentioned here that a child may be victim of both the abuses,” it told the bench, also comprising justices S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta.

Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, told the top court that this study was started in December 2015, and the report contained data up to March 2017.

“The study conducted on the mapping exercise of the child care institutions throws light on the status of some of the critical aspects of juvenile justice system, i.e., functioning of child care institutions in the country in context of the current Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the Rules 2016,” the report said.

It said the study on child care institutions was conducted through both quantitative and qualitative data gathered from the homes and prior to this exercise, data of only 2,317 homes were available.

It also gave a list of registered and unregistered child care institutions under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act 2015.

The report said that 3,071 homes (32 per cent) were registered under the JJ Act, while 1,487 homes (15 per cent) had applied for registration under the Act.

It further said that 1,585 homes (16.5 per cent) were registered under other schemes, while there were around 33 per cent unregistered child care institutions in the country.

The report said different categories of children living in these child care institutions were studied, which included orphans, abandoned, sexually abused, victims of child pornography, minors who were trafficked for domestic work or labour, those affected and infected by HIV and AIDS as well as those affected by natural disasters.

The report said that the number of children in need of care and protection was found to be 3,68,267 in these 9,589 child care institutions among which 1,98,449 were boys, 1,69,726 were girls and 92 were transgenders.

The report was filed in the matter in which the apex court has taken cognisance of the Muzaffarpur incident in Bihar where several girls were allegedly raped and sexually abused in an NGO-run shelter home.