Over 1,000 kids sexually abused in own home in 2022: Kerala child rights panel
Kerala's annual report reveals a surge in sexual abuse cases, with a concerning pattern that most children endured sexual assault in their own homes, mostly by 'loved ones' and known persons
Most cases of sexual assault on children reported in Kerala occurred in the homes of the young survivors, according to a new report from the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
According to the annual report for 2022–23, of the total 4,582 cases reported in the state during 2022 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, in as many as 1,004 cases, the crime occurred in the children's homes. For comparison, in 722 cases, the sexual abuse occurred in the houses of the accused while in 648 cases, it occurred in public places.
Children were also subjected to molestation in schools (133 cases), vehicles (102 cases), hotels and lodges (99 cases), religious institutions (60 cases) and hospitals (29 cases). Out of the total cases reported, most were from Thiruvananthapuram (583), while the least were reported from Pathanamthitta district (189).
Of the total 4,642 survivors, 4008 were girls and 578 were boys, the report said, adding that the figures indicated that girls were more often subjected to sexual assault.
These children represent the survivors in some 4,582 POCSO cases reported in the state last year, meaning several instances involved the accused abusing multiple minors. 'This indicates that there is more than one survivor in many cases. Under this circumstance, children should be given awareness about POCSO laws and child-friendly procedures,' the report said.
Among the accused, 16 per cent (801 cases) were 'lovers', 12 per cent neighbours, 9 per cent (462 cases) were family members, 8 per cent (389 cases) were relatives, and 3 per cent were teachers. The majority of survivors were found to belong to the age group of 15–18 years (2,563 children), with a small but significant numbers (55) belonging to the age group of 0–4 years.
Kerala has also seen a steady increase in the number of cases being registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POSCO). In 2020, 3,030 POCSO cases were registered, which increased to 3,322 in 2021 and then to 4,582 in 2022.