Af­ter abuse...

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTNATION -

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

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