December 10, 2013 12:27:46 am
Nearly a year after the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (PCSOA),2012,was first invoked in a case by the Mumbai Police,the city has seen 179 cases registered under the Act so far. The first case under PCSOA was registered by the Juhu police on January 15,when school bus attendant Ramesh Rajput was arrested for allegedly molesting a four-year-old student of a Juhu school.
The statistics show that till December 7,the highest number of cases (57) was registered in the East Region that comprises suburbs from Chembur to Mulund. The West region,from Bandra to Andheri,saw the second highest number of case 49. In the North Region,stretching from Goregaon to Dahisar,23 cases were registered,and 12 cases were registered in the South region that stretches from Colaba to Byculla.
Ujjwal Uke,principal secretary of the state Women and Child Development department said,considering that it has been just a year since the legislation was passed,the figures seem positive. The mandatory reporting of cases under the Act has made people more responsible. Although,not a steep rise,we have seen the number of cases go up. In coming years,we expect that more people will report cases of sexual assault on children as soon as they learn about it, Uke said.
The police said prompt reporting of incidents,coupled with directives from the police leadership to immediately register a case,contributed to the significant number of cases this year.
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Additional Commissioner of Police (East region) Quaiser Khaleed said,Such offences are more likely to occur in places where inter-personal contact among the population is high; for example,in slums. The east region has the highest slum population in the city.
The Act lays down stringent guidelines to be followed during investigation,with the focus being on ensuring that there is no discomfort to the victim. This also forced the police to have at least eight to 10 women personnel in every police station in the city.
Sensitising and educating the police on the effectiveness of the law is important. We have arranged regular training programmes on the ways of tackling the cases, Uke said.
The police have also undertaken awareness campaigns at regional level to impress upon parents the need to start educating their children at an early age about the difference between a casual touch and an obscene advance.
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