Delhi 4-year-old booked for rape: Experts say don’t criminalise him | delhi news | Hindustan Times
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Delhi 4-year-old booked for rape: Experts say don’t criminalise him

Behavioural sciences expert Dr Samir Parikh says it may be described as imitation or copy-cat behaviour.

delhi Updated: Nov 23, 2017 13:27 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Children this young, both victims and perpetrators, need support.
Children this young, both victims and perpetrators, need support.

Experts on Wednesday warned against criminalising and labelling a four-year-old boy as a sexual predator because pre-puberscent children did not understand sexual behaviour.

“We must understand that it is absolutely not possible for a four-year-old to understand sexual behaviour. Is there a possibility of a sexual need being fulfilled in his case? Absolutely not,” says Samir Parikh, director, department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Healthcare.

It’s important to understand his act, experts said.

“It may be at best described as imitation or copy-cat behaviour – the child saw something similar happening, perhaps on television or on a mobile phone, got inquisitive and went ahead and replicated the action. It is like replicating any other adult action without realising the repercussions,” says Dr Parikh.

“He himself may have been assaulted and could have been repeating the act,” he said.

A similar case was reported from an orphanage in Madhya Pradesh, when a eight-year-old girl, who had been assaulted for over two months by a peon, sexually abused another seven-year-old child.

“One has to consider all the factors, including the environment around the child, his relationship with his family, or violence at home or in the neighbourhood. The child will need thorough evaluation for us to get to the source of the problem,” says Dr Rajesh Sagar, professor, department of psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Children this young, both victims and perpetrators, need support.“What’s important is for the adults to figure out the source of information so that it does not become a pattern,” said Parikh.

“Young children don’t need therapies we otherwise normally recommend for an adult. We recommend the use of the play-interactive aspect to make children understand the difference between a good touch and bad. They need to be taught responsible decision making,” he said.

Instead of punishing a child, his parents need to stand by him to help him through the crisis.

“Parents need to behave more responsibly and keep a close watch on what and who their child is being exposed to. There has to be a non-intrusive, non-structured approach while dealing with your child. More importantly, parents need to spend more time with the child,” said Sagar.