To prevent child abuse at protection homes, Maha govt ropes in UNICEF, NGOs

Protection homes

Organisations will spread awareness at 1,119 homes in state regarding child abuse

With nearly nine cases of child abuse reported at the five child protection homes run by the Women and Child Development Department in the state in the last two years, the department has roped in UNICEF and NGOs to spread awareness at its 1,119 homes in the state regarding child abuse.

The department gave its nod recently and the drive will start in a week. The department has closed down the three institutions which reported these cases and shifted out the students to other government homes. Officials have issued show-cause notices to those involved in the other two homes. "These were cases of rape and molestation. While FIRs have been registered against the accused, we have terminated the operations of the three homes at Panvel, Kanephata and Raigad, the Missionary-run Aurangabad home has been served a show-cause notice, while officers of Shirur observation home have been suspended,'' said deputy commissioner of women and child development department Rahul More.

With the department's own homes too under probe, it decided to go a step ahead and spread awareness regarding the "good touch and bad touch" and prevent child abuse at these homes.

There are 1,073 private homes operated by NGOs for child protection and 46 government homes. The department has become strict in issuing licences and is terminating licences if any problem is observed at the homes. In the case registered against Kalyani Mahila and Balak Sanstha, Panvel, the caretaker was arrested and it was found that four of the inmates were repeatedly raped while the others were sexually and physically molested. At Vidyawati Ashram at Kanephata, a 13-year-old was reported pregnant, while a girl escaped from Shirur government observation's home and was later raped outside by a driver from Chandanagar. In Aurangabad's 103-year-old missionary home, two girls were reportedly abused, while another private home operating from Raigad had reported of a rape incident. All the victims were given counselling and have been rehabilitated at other observation homes without hindering their education, said the officials.

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