SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN : INSTITUTIONAL CHILD ABUSE IN BIHAR
This Riya from Rescue Junction.
I write this update with much sadness.
After all the achievements and progress towards child protection in Bihar news of widespread serious abuse and harm within shelter homes run by other NGOS (with state government money) has come to light. The scale of this abuse is beyond words, terrible physical and sexual abuse, drugs given, rooms for forced abortions, even accusations of murder.
It has quite rightly caused a national outcry.
Over 14 NGOs have been named, all receiving state government grants and using them in the worst case to run a child brothel, with violence perpetuated against the children if they dared complain.
There is sense of terrible shock here amongst the staff and much sadness.
Let me state clearly no complaint has ever been received concerning children at Rescue Junction.
People First and the staff here at Junction are proud of our exemplary record of protecting children from wherever they come. We are proud of our transparency, honesty, and willingness to report child abuse wherever and whenever we find it.
With your help we will continue this work to the very best of ability, and without fear, favour or prejudice.
We thank you for your support, it is needed now more than ever,
This is a press article from India Today..
Heads have started rolling in Bihar shelter-home rape case. Fourteen officials have been suspended by the Bihar government for negligence and dereliction of duty. But it took nearly four months for the Nitish Kumar government to prima facie identify the officials at fault in a case of alleged rape of 34 girls aged between seven and 17 in Muzaffarpur district of Bihar.
Medical reports have so far confirmed sexual abuse of more than 30 girls. The probe into the sex scandal has been handed over to the CBI. At least 10 accused have been arrested till date.
The Muzaffarpur shelter-home rape case is one of the cases of abuse at shelter homes and short-stay homes in Bihar. It all began with a report by Mumbai-based Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), which blew the lid over an organised sex scandal in Bihar run by people having connections with the powers that be in the state.
Why did TISS conduct an audit?
The Bihar government indirectly runs around 110 short-stay and shelter homes for homeless girls, women, boys and juveniles in conflict with law. These shelter homes are funded by the Bihar government and managed by non-governmental organisations (NGOs). Their funding is decided by the Bihar government based on their performance report.
The Bihar government had asked the TISS to conduct an audit of the short-stay and shelter homes in August 2017. The TISS audit report was submitted in April.
The TISS report pointed to sexual exploitation and physical abuse at six short-stay homes and 14 shelters. The first FIR in the case was registered on May 31. But the issue gained due attention of the Nitish Kumar administration around mid-June.
The full TISS report is not yet out in public. But whatever is known from the sources and media reports give chilling description of sexual abuse of girls at places where they were to feel safe and secure under government's protection.
What did TISS find out?
The TISS audit found that almost all 110-state government-funded institutions were run in violation of the mandate of the respective schemes and also the Juvenile Justice Act. It also reported abuse, varying in forms and degrees of intensity, in these institutions.
The Muzaffarpur short-stay home run by the NGO Seva Sankalp Evam Vikas Samiti was the worst performer, according to the TISS audit, for "grave instances of violence". The audit team found several girls reporting violence and sexual abuse.
The girls staying at Muzaffarpur shelter home had no access to open space and were locked up in their wards. They were allowed to go outside their wards just to take their meals and that too up to the dining hall only. No vocational training and recreation means were provided to the inmates.
At the Patna short-stay home for girls, run by the NGO IKARD, the staffers were physically abusive. A girl had reportedly committed suicide at the Patna shelter home due to the "violent atmosphere". The TISS team was told by the girls that they were not provided clothes, medicines and even toiletries.
The TISS report also indicted the managers of Motihari short-stay home for girls and women. The audit report talks about instances of physical violence.
Short stay home for girls in Munger was officially run by Novty Welfare Society. But a part of the building had been sub-let for a monthly rent of Rs 10,000. The TISS report says that the bathrooms at shelter homes in Munger did not have latches inside leaving the girls vulnerable.
The NGO Mahila Chetna Vikaa Mandal ran a shelter home for girls in Madhepura. TISS found that one of the girls living here had been taken in forcibly from the streets and was not allowed to go back or contact her family.
A security guard had been given the management powers at the short-stay home for girls in Kaimur. It was officially run by the NGO Gram Swaraj Sewa Sansthan. The TISS report said that the girls living in Kaimur shelter home complained that the security guard was sexually abusive.
Similar damning facts emerged from the audit of boys' homes in Bihar. The boys' home in Motihari, run by NGO Nirdesh, was a place of serious physical violence and sexual abuse as reported by those living there.
Residents staying at boys' homes in Bhagalpur (run by the NGO Rupam Pragati Samaj Samiti), Munger (run by NGO Panaah), Gaya (run by the NGO DORD) and Araria also reported abuse during TISS audit.
The officials suspended by the Bihar government included seven assistant directors of district child protection units -- from Muzaffarpur, Munger, Araria, Madhubani, Bhagalpur, Gaya and Bhojpur, district child protection officers - posted in Araria, East Champaran, Patna, Gaya, Madhepura and Sheohar, and a superintendent of a remand home, posted in Araria.
(With PTI inputs)