The World Health Organisation has defined child sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activity as he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society. It includes different sexual activities like fondling, inviting a child to touch or be touched sexually, intercourse, exhibitionism, involving a child in prostitution or pornography, or online child luring by cyber-predators.
Victim of sexual abuse provided with shelter and care
Manju, a seventeen-year old girl was staying with her unwell mother at her maternal uncle’s house. As per the child, she had been sexually exploited and tortured by her uncle. Though Manju shared the matter with her mother, she was told to not disclose further. Unfortunately, her mother died soon and then within a period of one year her uncle died too. She then came to stay with her elder sister. Manju was a student of class VII but due to continuous ill health, she discontinued school from January 2018. It was during this period that she visited a doctor and came to know that she is seven months pregnant. Police was informed and case under POCSO Act 2019 was registered. An unmarried girl being pregnant is a big social stigma in India and so when the matter came to light, her sister did not want to keep Manju in her house. The CHILDLINE team received the case from the local police station. The team met the child and visited her family. It was decided that arranging a safe shelter for the child was the immediate need. Accordingly, the case was presented before Child Welfare Committee (CWC) by CHILDLINE team. As per the CWC order, CHILDLINE team arranged for a safe shelter to provide her enough care until her delivery. The child is presently staying at shelter home, where proper medical attention is provided to her.
(*Name and details changed to protect the child)