We read shocking stories of children falling prey to sexual abuse and molestation every day. National statistics state that about 53% children are abused. The highest number of cases was reported in Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Bihar.
Many cases of child abuse are never reported because the child is reluctant to confide in anyone. Or the family of the victim may not want to confront the abuser if he or she belongs to an influential family for fear of backlash or shame.
Here are organizations that can help. Call the national child relief helpline, 1098. Besides filing a report with the police, you can also contact child rescue organisations that are present in nearly every state and city. For instance, Mumbai-based Arpan works entirely on CSA cases, while Save The Child has centres all over the country. There’s Bosco in Bengaluru, Rahi in Delhi, El-Shaddai in Goa, Tulir in Chennai, amongst many others. These rescue centres will assist the child and the family. A national helpline number, 1098, set up by the Childline Foundation has a team of volunteers in many cities and districts of the country, who also partner with over 700 NGOs and the police.
But make sure you get the child’s consent first. In most cases, you don’t need to wait for evidence before you report. But it is extremely important to get consent. Mumbai-based NGO Arpan published a report, Mandatory Reporting, which analysed the motivations and deterrents of reporting child abuse cases. The study found that abuse survivors felt betrayed when the person they trusted had reported without their consent. “The decision to report is contextual and almost entirely based on the environment, both immediate and social, of the survivor,” the report says.