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  • Child Rights Centre, CNLU

Rights in Crisis: Children and Women in India

By Rishika Verma* & Anik Majumder**

 

The second wave of COVID-19 wreaked devastation throughout India, with a peak of over 400,000 cases being recorded at one point in time, leading to a countless number of families losing their loved ones. According to reports, The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights informed the Supreme Court that the pandemic had led to orphaning of 1,742 kids, along with which at least 140 were deserted, and 7,464 kids had lost at least one parent. The majority of these kids are from weaker sections and therefore lack a guardian that would look after their necessities. Bihar recorded 1,327 such instances. COVID-19, in actuality, has the potential to undo most of the gains in the world of gender equality that advocates for the same cause have spent their entire careers looking into.


Considering the ephemerality of the viruses’ impact as well as the time period it would persist, including the ecosystem's fledgling insight of just how beneficial or efficient the approach has been, it is critical to consider COVID-19's protracted influence on the women in India. According to some assessments, its protracted consequences may be severe enough to reverse decades of progress towards women's empowerment across the globe, seeing as, in a frenzy to handle the growing public safety emergency, numerous countries neglected preparation of responses with gender in mind.


The pandemic has had a protracted influence on mental well-being. It, therefore, has led to a rise in the occurrence of repressive gender bias expressions like abuse against women. The National Commission for Women has reported a twofold increase in domestic abuse claims while women and children seek safety from their abusers; the elimination in work for women holding a bulk of unstable, unorganised, and low-paying jobs; along with the danger taken by nurses are overwhelmingly female. Almost 83 per cent of such frontline employees remain to be female nurses who have been risking their lives on a routine basis.


Nevertheless, numerous households with such victims of domestic violence, involving both women and children, do not always feel secure in their own homes. The virus has wreaked havoc on the economy. It has cut countless people from social services and help networks, sparking tremendous fear and terror. Similar circumstances might potentially encourage aggression within households where it did not initially exist, as well as aggravate circumstances in households where maltreatment and aggression were a norm. Furthermore, although the orphans of the virus have grabbed national attention, India's kids are secretly subjected to a slew of additional threats, notably starvation, school dropout, child marriage, and child prostitution. Children represent society's most fragile demographic. Since they are reliant upon others, exercise the lowest amount of power, and hold almost no influence within their lives.


Any infringement of the laws would be considered a crime. Teenagers get confronted with law enforcement authorities as they are being charged for the crimes committed by them. Boys or girls under 18 who have been charged with the crime are imprisoned under the framework of juvenile justice in India.


Throughout every district within the country, a Juvenile Justice Board has been established that exercises authorities and performs tasks pertaining to juveniles/children facing a dispute with legal authorities. The Juvenile Justice Board typically conducts a primary investigation to decide if a juvenile offender should have been transported into rehabilitation or be prosecuted as a person with the age of majority. Likewise, the Child Welfare Committee deals with youngsters that are "in need of care or protection," that is, youngsters who are from disadvantaged or marginalised areas of the social system, including the ones with specific requirements or weaknesses; it aims to determine organisational treatment as well as rehabilitative services for youngsters that require safety and security.