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Install complaint boxes in schools for children to report sexual abuse, Madras HC directs TN

The orders were passed while confirming the conviction imposed by a Mahila court in Salem in 2019 on S. Jayaseelan, a pastor, for having sexually abused a 12-year-old school girl in 2013

The Madras High Court has directed the State government to install complaint boxes in every school to encourage students to shun hesitation and complain freely about any case of sexual abuse, either by the managing committee members or teaching or non-teaching staff.

Justice P. Velmurugan ordered that the keys of the complaint boxes should be in the custody of the District Legal Services Authority. The DLSA should check the boxes every week along with the District Social Welfare Officer and forward the relevant complaints to the police.

The judge said the District Educational Officers could be asked to visit every school once a month to inquire with the students about any kind of sexual harassment or abuse being faced by them.

He also suggested constitution of district-level committees comprising officials from DLSA, Social Welfare Department, women officers from the police department, psychiatrists and physicians from government hospitals to help the children in need of help.

The orders were passed while confirming the conviction and five years of rigorous imprisonment imposed by a Mahila court in Salem in 2019 on S. Jayaseelan, a pastor, for having sexually abused a 12-year-old school girl in 2013.

Dismissing his appeal, the judge held that the prosecution had proved its case by examining an independent witness who was the victim’s friend to whom she had confided about the incident immediately after it took place at the pastor’s official residence.

The judge also said that the failure of the prosecution to subject the victim to medical examination would not affect the case since the pastor had only molested the victim even as per her complaint and there were no physical injuries on her body.

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