ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

A+| A| A-

When ‘Protectors’ Turn Perpetrators

The state and civil society have failed in their role as protectors of the vulnerable in shelter homes.

In an unequal and patriarchal society, the social, cultural and economic conditions create a situation where vulnerable groups, like women and children, need protection from being victimised by perpetrators with predatory mindsets. However, the welfare state and civil society, who are supposed to take on the role of protectors, have been unable to prevent the victimisation of the vulnerable within their own institutions. The recent incidents of rampant physical and sexual abuse of minors and women in childcare institutions (CCIs) and shelter homes in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh reveal how the state as well as the civil society have failed in their role as protectors and watchdogs. It is a travesty of justice that their “protectors” themselves turn out to be the perpetrators, time and again. This has happened despite the enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act) and the existence of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

Sexual abuse at a CCI in Muzaffarpur, Bihar was exposed by a team from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, which conducted a social audit in 2017. Of the 42 inhabitants of the CCI, 34 minor girls aged between 7 and 17 were found to have been physically and sexually abused. The audit also brought to light physical, sexual and mental abuse in 14 other CCIs in Bihar, and the deplorable living conditions and lack of basic freedoms in these shelter homes. What is disquieting is that seven of the accused in the Muzaffarpur case happened to be women “caregivers” and “counsellors.”

Dear reader,

To continue reading, become a subscriber.

Explore our attractive subscription offers.

Click here

Updated On : 28th Aug, 2018

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

Back to Top