Call for sexually abused kids’ extra care

Activists Claim Separate Cell In Hospital Will Help Reduce Victims’ Discomfort
Child rights activists called for a one-stop multidisciplinary centre in Sassoon General Hospital for the victims of sexual abuse.Dnyana Devi Childline’s city advisory board members agreed on Thursday in its review meeting that it must be set up on priority . The centre would allow the traumatized child and the family access to all necessary medical tests and departments in a common place. This would reduce the hurdles in going through the legal procedures in cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the members concurred.

Childline is a 24-hour helpline for children in distress.Supported by the Union ministry of women and child development, it handles cases of child sexual abuse.

According to its board members, running from one department to another in the hospital for conducting medical tests, collecting forensic samples and even recording a statement before the police is a challenge in such cases.They demanded a permanent set-up in a section of the hospital with facilities like basic and emergency medical treatment, pathology , forensic science, psychiatry , counselling and legal aid for the visiting victims and their families. Elaborating on the hardps faced in such cases, ships faced in such cases, child rights activist Yamini Adbe said, “Overcrowding and lack of privacy are serious problems in Sassoon General Hospital. Sometimes, it takes more than a week to complete all medical examinations of victims, and even then the investigations are not properly done. Many get fed up and give up the process, which ultimately affects the legal procedure against the accused.“

Adbe urged for speedy execution of the proposal.

Echoing her, Anuradha Sahasrabudhe, the honorary director of the helpline, said, “Lack of coordination betwe en different departments has been generally observed.With the victim given space among strangers in a general ward, it is usually traumatic for them to record their statement before the police. Housing them in a different section of the hospital would make them feel better.“

Sandhya Khadse, the head of the paediatrics department of Sassoon General Hospital, said, “We have been trying to execute this proposal for a long time. Funds are available. Only , basic permissions need to be sought from the state government. I am sure we can identify a space in the hospital to set up this multidisciplinary section with beds and all necessary assistance.“

The participants of the meeting included representatives of the Juvenile Justice Board, Child Welfare Committee, Social Security Cell and traffic departments of police and Railway Protection Force, a teacher and paediatrician, besides social workers and child rights activists.

Source : TOI

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