Mobile phones, internet blamed for increased child abuse, rape

By Dilanthi Jayamanne

Mobile phones and the internet are two of the main causes for the increase in child abuse, incest and rape of women and children. Chief of the Special Investigations Unit of the National Child Protection Authority, (NCPA), B. Balachandra, said yesterday that the country had witnessed a tremendous increase in child abuse and rape within the last ten years owing to the unrestrained use of mobile phones by children youth and the elderly.

Making a presentation on the incidences of abuse and violence against girls in Sri Lanka, at the Forum Against Gender Based Violence (GBV), held to commemorate the ‘International Day of the Girl Child,’ at the United Nations, Balachandra said that the easy access to the internet, through mobile phones as well as the many facilities which were included in the phone, had enabled the production of porn videos with teenage girls. Many of the videos are put on the internet jeopardising the reputation of those young children, he observed stating that the NCPA police desk had over 60 of such video clips which it had received.

Earlier, sex education instilled reservation and fear in teenage girls and boys. However, present day sex education eliminates that fear by sending out the message that it was acceptable so long as safety measures were taken.

Explaining the situation, Balachandra said that laws against rape and child abuse should be strengthened. He added that the NCPA had made an appeal to the CID to expunge certain website and scenes from the internet which could cause unrest in teenagers and adults.

Consultant on Child Protection and Attorney-at- Law, Sajeewa Samaranayake, making a presentation on the current status and challenges facing girls in Sri Lanka, said that police received approximately 3,000 complaints on rape and child abuse annually. "However, we often concentrate on the number of complaints or the number of cases heard where as there should be focus on the number of complaints or cases that have been proved," he said.

Samaranayake added that there should also be concern regarding the government’s response to victims of child abuse and rape. The media and other organizations should focus on what the government does towards the wellbeing of victims once they are in their custody, he added.

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