Kathua case: Save the Children hits out at New Delhi for poor implementation of child protection laws

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In the aftermath of rape-and-murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl in Kathua earlier this month, ‘Save the Children’, an international non-governmental organisation that promotes children’s rights, on Monday said poor status of implementation of laws is an issue of urgent national concern.
In a statement today, the children rights watch said: “Save the Children condemns the rape cases that have shocked the country with their brutality, and we also condemn all forms of sexual violence against children.”
It said while the Indian Government has enabled progressive laws like Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 and the Criminal Amendment Act, 2013 but the poor status of implementation of such laws, as reflected in the cases of Kathua, Unnao and Surat, is an issue of urgent national concern.
“Occurrence of sexual violence, particularly, in India that fosters belief of perceived male superiority unknowingly sets an inferior status for its girls and women, is one of key findings of Save the Children’s forthcoming flagship report “WINGS 2018 — World of India’s Girls: A study on the perception of girls’ safety in public spaces”, to be launched in May 2018,” the statement said.
Quoting some of findings of the report, the statement said the beliefs and practices (as perceptions) on safety of girls in public spaces, wherein the onus is not only with the laws but also with the families and communities towards ensuring girl’s safety.
“Both under-reporting of cases as well as slow redressal are obstacles in achieving enduring results to end violence and harassment against children.”
“ There is an urgent need to: strengthen the policing, legislation and judicial structure, with focus on effective execution and strong response mechanisms; have effective public mobilisation against gender-based violence; and, ensure shared accountability at all levels – including government, judiciary, civil society, media, communities and individuals to end violence against children,” the statement added.

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