Worrying statistics recently surface that a majority of victims who undergo sexual abuse in Visakhapatnam are underage. It seems to have become a cause of concern now, according to data shown by Sakhi, a crisis centre in the city.
The centre that was set up in January last year caters to victims of sexual abuse, domestic violence and human trafficking. They have catered to 26 cases so far and unfortunately, the majority of sexual abuse victims they’re encountered are underage.
In most cases, the cases registered are of children below 17 years of age. According to their data, the children are abused by either auto drivers or persons unknown to them. In a recent case, an intermediate student was raped by an auto driver she has never met after he forced her to accompany him to a secluded area.
In such cases, the crime goes unreported as the victims do not disclose the same to their family members or anyone and suffer mental trauma. Fear seems to be the driving factor for the non-disclosure and it is only after parents notice behavioural changes in these children that these cases come to light.
Many such sexual abuse cases of underage children do not even reach the authorities for various reasons. But Sakhi has been conducting awareness campaigns about the same and holding counselling sessions in educational institutions.
As of now, the crisis centre runs from KGH. Inadequate facilities is blamed to have come in the way of their effective functioning. The centre was set up by the Women and Child Welfare Department to provide counselling, medical aid, legal guidance and police assistance to the abused. The centre runs on a team of 19, out of which 15 were recently recruited.
They have no exclusive vehicle as of now, so they use the 108 ambulances in case of emergency. They have requested a special vehicle for the same. The centre has gotten approval to shift to Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences on a temporary basis.