B.T. Venkatesh, State Public Prosecutor, High Court of Karnataka, said this while speaking at a consultation on child protection and child rights with the stakeholders’ perspective
There is a need to sensitise the police about different kinds of sexual assault, especially with regard to cases of child abuse, B.T. Venkatesh, State Public Prosecutor, High Court of Karnataka, has said.
He was speaking at a consultation on child protection and child rights with the stakeholders’ perspective, organised by the Karnataka State Police and Bangalore police here on Saturday.
Mr. Venkatesh said when a child was sexually abused, the police thought it was rape. But rape had an element of force. In cases of child abuse, a child has no idea what consent is. Child abuse includes different types of abuse and the police should know how to distinguish them. It takes place after the perpetrator grooms the victim who trusts her or him.
He pointed out that 40 to 60 per cent of child abuse cases occurred within the household by a friend or known person. In 90 per cent of the cases, the perpetrator is a person known to the child. When it happens in an upmarket school, it is investigated.
“Children are being abused every day at railway and bus stations. But nobody cares about these cases. We turn a blind eye to them.”
M.N. Reddi, City Police Commissioner, said that while every person had a chance to make a difference in cases of child abuse, police officers had a “fantastic opportunity” as they were empowered to identify and help punish those involved in child abuse.
Umesh Aradhya, Chairperson, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR), said the police could take information from non-governmental organisations, which could act as their “eyes and ears”.