Putting child abuse on the national agenda

One of the first steps to putting child abuse on the national agenda is to first collect data about the extent and nature of abuse. WCD recently completed a very large scale study which will hopefully raise awareness of this ghastly problem which has only been magnified because of the breakdown of the family and the institution of marriage.


India is home to almost 19 percent of the world’s children. More than one third of the country’s population, around 440 million, is below 18 years. According to one assumption 40 percent of these children are in need of care and protection, which indicates the extent of the problem. In a country like India with its multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious population, the problems of socially marginalized and economically backward groups are immense. Within such groups the most vulnerable section is always the children. For the Ministry of Women and Child Development the challenge is to reach out to the most vulnerable and socially excluded child of this country and create an environment wherein, not only is every child protected, but s/he also has access to opportunities and education for her/his all round growth and development.

However, all these efforts need further supplementation through the creation of adequate knowledge base on child protection. In order to address this gap, one of the significant decisions taken by the Ministry was to initiate a National Study on Child Abuse in the year 2005. This study, which is the largest of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world, covered 13 states with a sample size of 12447 children, 2324 young adults and 2449 stakeholders. It looked at different forms of child abuse: Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse and Emotional Abuse and Girl Child Neglect in five different evidence groups, namely, children in a family environment, children in school, children at work, children on the street and children in institutions.



It has very clearly emerged that across different kinds of abuse, it is young children, in the 5-12 year group, who are most at risk of abuse and exploitation.

Physical Abuse

1. Two out of every three children were physically abused.

2. Out of 69% children physically abused in 13 sample states, 54.68% were boys.

3. Over 50% children in all the 13 sample states were being subjected to one or the other form of physical abuse.

4. Out of those children physically abused in family situations, 88.6% were physically abused by parents.

5. 65% of school going children reported facing corporal punishment i.e. two out of three children were victims of corporal punishment.

6. 62% of the corporal punishment was in goverment and municipal school.

7. The State of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi have almost consistently reported higher rates of abuse in all forms as compared to other states.

8. Most children did not report the matter to anyone.

9. 50.2% children worked seven days a week.


Sexual Abuse

1. 53.22% children reported having faced one or more forms of sexual abuse.

2. Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest percentage of sexual abuse among both boys and girls.

3. 21.90% child respondents reported facing severe forms of sexual abuse and 50.76% other forms of sexual abuse.

4. Out of the child respondents, 5.69% reported being sexually assaulted.

5. Children in Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi reported the highest incidence of sexual assault.

6. Children on street, children at work and children in institutional care reported the highest incidence of sexual assault.

7. 50% abuses are persons known to the child or in a position of trust and responsibility.

8. Most children did not report the matter to anyone.


Emotional Abuse and Girl Child Neglect

1. Every second child reported facing emotional abuse.

2. Equal percentage of both girls and boys reported facing emotional abuse.

3. In 83% of the cases parents were the abusers.

4. 48.4% of girls wished they were boys.


One response to “Putting child abuse on the national agenda

  1. Please be careful about the statistics. Please do question every number you see in the report. Lot of numbers are fudged to derive the conclusion they want to make. The actual number by be more or less the reported one.
    What about the emotional abuse of the children from broken families or where the kid is living with mom because of the court order (but actually wants to reunite with his/her dad)?

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