Child sexual abuse in institutionalized settings

Phillips Adrian, Saxena Ratna, Abraham Ronny Thomas - Institutionalised Children Explorations and Beyond

The alarming prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) across the globe demands scrutinization of the present mechanisms in place to protect children from abuse. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child acknowledges that the family is the natural environment for the development and well-being of children. However, historically, children throughout South Asia have suffered homelessness, neglect and deprivation due to factors such as broken homes, lack of financial resources, physical and sexual abuse, and the age-old tradition of migrating parents in search of a better life, leaving children in the care of others often unable or unwilling to provide long-term care and attention. With such numbers, child care during the last decade has gained its due attention. A specific set of resolutions were placed by the United Nations and various Governments for alternative care, to address protection and shelter for children whose rights were being violated. Yet, disturbing malpractices and absence of monitoring and evaluation were discovered across child care institutions in South Asian nations including India, Nepal and Afghanistan, with reports confirming CSA. To ensure protection of children from institutional abuse, there is an urgent need to review the existing laws in terms of their efficacy to protect children and feasibility in implementation. The present study suggests possible solutions, by trying to understand standardized and effective models of care systems and mechanisms. This will further help us delve into areas where law and policies in South Asia can be compared with regards to alternative care; to understand gaps, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and thereby generating policy suggestions for alternative care.