Mechanism to deal with sexual abuse at shelter homes inadequate: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said the prevailing mechanism to curb incidents of sexual abuse of children at shelter homes was inadequate as it asked the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) response on the formulation of a child protection policy.

Directing the Ministry of Women and Child Development to inform the court about what was being done for counselling and rehabilitation of the victims of sexual abuse, the bench headed by Justice Madan B. Lokur sought the presence of the Joint Secretary of the MWCD on the next hearing on October 8.

Justice Lokur said, “The existing mechanism is not adequate. If it was adequate then what had happened in Muzaffarpur would not have happened.”

The court said this in the course of hearing of the sexual abuse of 34 girls in the shelter home run by an NGO at Muzaffarpur in Bihar.

Pointing out that 34 victim girls need counselling, the court wondered there could be many more girls like them and something was needed to be done. It recalled that in the past it had sought the formulation of child protection policy but nothing moved.

The top court had said on September 20 that it would monitor the CBI probe in the case of Muzaffarpur shelter home rapes and sought a status report from the Central agency in four weeks.

The top court had also asked the media to exercise caution while reporting the case.