There was a time when one could say that Goa was safe. Whether it was for locals or even tourists traveling to the state on holiday. Women and children were not victims of abuse either. All that probably started to change around 30 – 40 years ago. Stories of child abuse suddenly seemed to be doing the rounds. Freddy Peats was a notoriously well-known pedophile that lived in Goa and sexually abused children in an orphanage run by him. This was back in the 1990’s. Today, the situation is much worse with the drug and prostitution issues running rampant in the state. As TOI reported this morning, child abuse continues to become a bigger issue.
Child abuse is a major issue everywhere and has now revealed itself in Goa
It is believed that every week, more than 5 children are abused. A report submitted to the Chief Minister, Manohar Parrikar by the Victim Assistance Unit (VAU) showed a shocking trend of child abuse in Goa.
Between March 2017 and February 2018, the state saw 273 child abuse cases — more than five a week. Of these, 68% were girls and 32% boys. The VAU sees a lot of cases pertaining to abuse as of today. Out of all the cases, 68% are a combination of 5 different kinds of abuse – sexual, witnesses in criminal proceedings, kidnapping, verbal and assault. Child abuse rears its ugly head here as well with 51% of these being child abuse cases. The age group of the victims is between 0-15 years.
The police stations that have the highest number of such registered cases are Panaji, Mapusa, women’s police station, Old Goa and, Porvorim – 72% in total. The least number of cases have been registered at Sanguem, Saligao, cyber crime cell and Cuncolim police stations. These account for less than 4% of such cases in the state.
“In addition to the 707 cases in the first three years (2014 – 2017), we have assisted 273 cases from March 2017 to February 2018. Of these, 86 were boys, while 187 were women and girls. Many cases of women who were rescued from prostitution, rape, and abuse were also reported to this unit. We have assisted in all 980 individuals in the past four years. Most of the cases are ongoing as we are still to depose before the court,” VAU coordinator Emidio Pinho told the newspaper.
Child abuse rears its ugly head
The VAU handles all kinds of cases with this report revealing that sexual abuse cases among teenagers are the highest in Goa. Kidnapping, assault, verbal, and domestic violence follow closely behind. They also handle cases pertaining to suicide, begging, murder, trafficking, abandonment, drug abuse, missing children, just to name a few.
“Currently, we have a VAU for the entire state and through our efforts there is a total change in the child protection system in Goa,” Pinho said.
VAU now has a police officer (PSI rank) so that registration of complaints, recording of statements and medical examination of victims can be carried out under one roof. This is done to ensure that all procedures are sped up and there is no delay in delivering justice.
Information credit – Times of India