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Police incompetence add to woes of abused children

2013 Aug 01

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Delays in court proceedings as regards abused and neglected children had caused unnecessary distress to them, National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake said yesterday.

 She told The Island that the disturbing find not only highlighted the rising cases of child abuse in the country, but also how the slow process involved in punishing offenders was making it difficult to successfully prosecute abusers.

 Chairperson stressed that in Sri Lanka it was taking as long as six years to prosecute criminals who abused children.

According to statistics, around 4,000 cases or nearly 30 percent of all the cases pending before the High Courts were related to child abuse.

Cases should be expedited through the court process where possible, particularly when the child is very young, she said.

According to the NCPA, delays were due the failure on the part of the police to complete investigations or the submission of incomplete files and the backlog of court cases.

 Dissanayake said, "Now, we are conducting a pilot project involving courts to hear and decide cases relating to children within 45 days."

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