The infrastructure at the shelter home where the girls were taken to lacked any recreational facilities and didn’t have adequate staff or a library, counselling room, store room and learning material. Nor did the premises maintain proper standards of hygiene and sanitation, the NCPCR team said in its report.
The team, which was led by NCPCR member, RG Anand, also found that in the immediate aftermath of the incident, hardly any measures were taken to address the severe trauma suffered by the girls. “No appointment of a qualified counsellor or a mental health expert was ensured within the premises of shelter home, clinical assessment of the victims was not conducted and no effective posttraumatictherapyorcounselling was ensured to the victims,” the report, given to the women and child development ministry, said.
The victims, the report observed, did not have even a single session with a trained counsellor. The superintendent of the shelter home hadn’t yet prepared or initiated a “course of psychological aid and therapeutic intervention based on the individual profile of each victim,” it added.
Rakesh Srivastava, secretary of the women and child development ministry, said the ministry was writing to the district administration, seeking an explanation for the lapses.
NCPCR has laid down a detailed standard operating procedure on how to deal with sexual abuse of children in childcare institutions, mandating a medical examination of the victims, an assessment of his/her mental state and psychological intervention before they are questioned about their experience.
Another senior ministry official, who did not want to be named, said, “We are also seeking information from the state government about the current rehabilitation status of the girls.”
Psychologists say that in cases such as the one in Deoria , counselling should be provided immediately and they should be housed in a proper environment.
“Also it’s important that authorities handle such cases with sensitivity. These are unusual incidents. Authorities can’t cover up their inefficiency with excuses such as lack of trained counsellors or psychologists. To start with, why can’t they train the staff available in the shelter home to counsel the victims?” said Rajat Mitra, a clinical psychologist and director of Swanchetan Society for Mental Health, a non-government organisation.
With inputs from Chandan Kumar