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Caretakers turn abusers! Boys abused at Juvenile Homes in Kottayam, Kerala

CHILDLINE 1098 Service » 1098 News » Caretakers turn abusers! Boys abused at Juvenile Homes in Kottayam, Kerala

The dreadful abuse of boys at the now-infamous juvenile home in Kottayam has exposed how physical and sexual abuse continues to be rampant in government shelter homes. Timely intervention by CHILDLINE Kottayam saved two children from such abuse.

Kottayam, Kerala: A psychologist of a Children's Home in Kottayam, Kerala had informally informed CHILDLINE about the abuse of children in some of the Government shelter homes. He mentioned the children being physically abused by the care takers of the homes. Although CHILDLINE requested him to share more details and submit a written complaint for the same, he refused. This made it difficult for CHILDLINE to probe into the matter without any concrete evidence.

However, the team acted upon the information received and orally reported the matter to the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) who agreed to make an inquiry at the home.

One day, a boy ran away from the shelter home on the pretext of being brutally beaten up by the care taker. He reported the same to the local people who took the matter to the Police. The Police immediately updated CHILDLINE about the case, who admitted the child to a district hospital for further care.

"They beat us with large sticks. At night, the wardens and senior boys would remove our clothes and abuse us. The wardens would make the senior boys beat us up. They also abused us. If we resisted they would threaten to file police cases against us," said the boy in his statement.

After collecting a statement from the child, the case was reported to the CWC. The Police was directed to arrest the care taker who abused the child. Later on, the care taker was set free on bail.

Soon after, the media became acquainted with the case and decided to take serious action. They made a hue and cry of the situation by highlighting the statements made by the children and talking about the issues existing within shelter homes. Many issues came to the forefront through the media- the care takers appointed were not qualified or trained, they were working as daily wage workers, children were being ill-treated by those who were meant to look after them, basic amenities for the children were not provided etc.

The Social Welfare Department suspended the staff of the home, the superintendent of the home was transferred and some of the children were sent back to their parents.

CHILDLINE's efforts didn't go unnoticed. The CWC ordered CHILDLINE to take action and visit the shelter home every Sunday to provide counseling for the children. An advisory committee was constituted in an effort to monitor the functioning of the home. CHILDLINE became an integral part of the committee.

After this shocking incident, the Kerala government has decided to probe all other juvenile centres in the state of Kerala.

CHILDLINE was once again successful in listening to the voice of the child and helping provide justice to the children.