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Business News/ News / Covid left children more vulnerable, crime up over 16%: Child rights NGOs

A child rights group has said that crimes against children in 2021 rose 16.3 per cent as compared to the previous year. It also said that the coronavirus pandemic has left children far more exposed and vulnerable as proved by recent National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data.

An analysis by child rights NGO CRY - Child Rights and You - on the latest data released by the NCRB, show 149,404 crimes against children were recorded in 2021. It meant that crimes were committed against children every hour 17 which translates to 409 incidents of crimes being committed every day against children in the country.

The data said, “There is a worrying rise in number of crimes against children when compared to last year - while NCRB data revealed that 1,28,531 cases of crimes that had been recorded in 2020 , total number of crimes stood at 1,49,404 in 2021 – indicating a remarkable 16.2 per cent increase in crimes reported against children."

The NCRB data said that between 2022 and 2021, crimes against children increased sharply by 351 per cent.

Further analysis of the NCRB 2021 data suggests that sexual offences against children, especially girls, are steadily on the rise, as one out of every three crimes against children are registered under the POCSO Act (53,874 out of 1,49,404 – i.e. 36.1 per cent of total crimes against children).

Reacting to the report, Puja Marwaha, CEO of CRY, said, "While it's heartening to see that there is increased public awareness which possibly translates into higher reporting of cases, it should also be kept in mind that in our country many cases often go unrecorded, especially in the remote areas - hence the actual scale of crimes committed against children may be higher than the numbers apparently reflect."

"The fear was that in all likelihood the Covid pandemic may have left children far more exposed and vulnerable when it came to issues related to child protection and may have increased risks for children manifold at multiple levels; and the current NCRB data has proved it right," Marwaha said.

Sudarshan Suchi, CEO of Save the Children, said there is a need to quickly move to have an operational plan to make children protected and safe in every way.

"An immediate awakener for us is the latest report that crime rate per lakh children has increased from 28.9 to 33.6 per cent. This steady increase in the crimes against children is a wakeup call though it could also be because of raised awareness that the government and civil society organisations have worked on," he said.

(With agency inputs)

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Updated: 30 Aug 2022, 08:43 PM IST
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