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Tales of horror from observation home in Pune: Rules in place but implementation missing says Activists

Pune district has two observation homes for juveniles in conflict with law, and both establishments have reported cases of child sexual abuse in the past.

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The alleged sexual abuse of minors lodged at an observation home in the city has once again highlighted the failure of the juvenile correction and rehabilitation system. Activists and government employees say that while the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, an amended version of the earlier Act, is very elaborate in its scope, it is hardly ever implemented, and that’s one of the important reasons behind the ‘collapse’ of the system.

READ | ‘Officials ignored sexual assault complaints, forced boys to clean toilets and watch porn’

Pune district has two observation homes for juveniles in conflict with law, and both establishments have reported cases of child sexual abuse in the past. Pune-based child rights activist Amita Naidu, who has worked with both observation homes, said, “The earlier Juvenile Justice Act as well as the amended version of 2015 are very elaborate legislations… they are aimed at not just addressing the crime-related aspect of the issue but also complete rehabilitation of the children… The law lays down basic guidelines for supervision at the observation home, norms for living conditions, correctional measures… But having spent a lot of time working at these facilities, I feel that the law is hardly implemented.”

Naidu added: “The homes appoint clinical psychologists but their numbers are inadequate. The law also encourages the participation of NGOs in the process, because it involves an outsider, but most of the issues are hidden from the outside world. The law makes it binding for every police station to hsave a police unit to deal with such issues, but most police stations don’t have it… The law also suggests an early bail, in principle… But this is often not implemented…”

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First published on: 14-05-2017 at 04:25:28 am
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