Facilitate compensation for child victims of sexual assault, formulate VLCPCs, urges MACR

By Our Staff Reporter
IMPHAL, Feb 12 : Manipur Alliance for Child Rights (MACR) has urged the State Government to facilitate necessary compensation for all the victims of Child Sexual Assault (CSA) while demanding the full fledged implementation of Village Level Child Protection Committees (VLCPCs) at the earliest.
Making the above statement at Manipur Press Club today, MACR co-committee member Keisham Pradipkumar stated that the number of cases on crimes against children in the State is alarming and there are numerous cases which go unreported.
With a view to disburse timely compensation and to complete trial within a stipulated time and also to prevent occurrence of frequent CSA cases in the State, MACR strongly urged the authorities concerned to set up Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) in every districts for speedy trial of POCSO cases.
It further urged to complete the CSA cases within a stipulated time and ensure child friendly environment and open special child friendly court rooms in every POCSO Court.
Ensure early disbursement of recommended interim and final victim's compensation without further delay and cumbersome process as per the provisions of the Manipur Victim Compensation Scheme 2018, it demanded while adding that special training should be given to police, support persons, judicial officers on friendly approach towards victims.
 It also urged to synergise the key stakeholders, i.e. Social Welfare department, DCs, MASLSA/DALSA, Home department and generate a one window solution system for resolving any undue delay, while disbursing recommended victims's compensation in CSA cases.
The State should allocate adequate funds for setting up and running VLCPCs in all the villages of the State, to prevent and response to CSA cases, child trafficking, child substance abuse, school drop outs cases and other child protection issues on priority.
Even though, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme perceives a high-sounding National flagship programme, girl child in the State are not "totally" safe as chains of child sexual assault cases, targeting minors girls even in schools, boardings and hostels and within community, have continued to crop up, he maintained.
Pradipkumar informed that, in a year, an average of around 78 child sexual assault cases were reported in Manipur (from 2013-2019) while in India, 24,212 rape cases were registered  during a six months time (As per National Crime Records Bureau).
He continued that since 2014-15, MACR has successfully set up 88 VLCPs , out of the 98 VLCPs in the State, at Chandel (21), Senapati (16), Ukhrul (29), Bishnupur (5), Churachandpur (10).
Meanwhile, DCPU in the State face financial crunch to speed up VLCP formulation and formalization process as they don't have specific budget for the task under Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS).
Although, VLCPs are one of the effective mechanisms to prevent and respond to various child rights violation cases, particularly CSA and child trafficking in the community level, he alleged that ICPS fail to allocate any budgetary support for VLCPs.
Pradipkumar maintained that MACR has raised the said issue and urged to allocate adequate budgetary provision for VLCPs in the recent National Voluntary Review on Sustainable Development Goals, both at the  National and Regional conferences held in Delhi and Imphal respectively.
He underlined that India has 1.66 lakh pending cases of crime against women and children across the country.
The Supreme Court, on November 13, 2019, directed to set up a total of 1023 FTSCs, out of which 389 Courts are to exclusively handle cases under POCSO Act, he noted.
On the other hand, the Criminal Amendment Act 2018 mandated to complete rape trial within two months from the filing of charge sheet, besides providing mandatory completion of investigation by police within two months.
However, in an average, CSA cases in Manipur are found pending in Courts for more than three years after the case got registered.
The lengthy trial process eventually gives a traumatic and painful experience to survivors and their families while many victims became hostile from being unable to cope up with the emotional distress, caused by secondary victimization, unfriendly court environment and attitudes, apart from various societal stigma and other pressures, he added. Pradipkumar conveyed that the situation becomes more serious as Manipur does not have FTSCs for trial of POCSO cases. He further urged the State Government to disburse victim's compensation for rape victims and victims of other sexual assault.