December's deadly gang-rape in New Delhi put a spotlight on the country's ugly problem of sexual assault. But India faces another terrible sexual abuse failing—this one involving its children. Human Rights Watch today released an 82-page report on the rampant sexual abuse of Indian children, reports al-Jazeera. Though the report relies on in-depth case studies of 100 abuse victims rather than a "quantitative analysis," it does highlight a 2007 survey of 12,500 at-risk children that found a stunning 53.2% of those questioned had faced one or more forms of sexual abuse; 72% of those victims say they told no one.
"Shockingly the very institutions that should protect vulnerable children can place them at risk of horrific child sexual abuse," said HRW's South Asia director. India's poorly trained and poorly paid police often refuse to register complaints; children who do report abuse and are seen by a doctor often undergo traumatic exams. Last year India finally passed its first law banning child sex abuse, but that's not enough, says HRW. "The criminal justice system, from the time police receive a complaint until trials are completed, needs urgent reform." See the full report here. (Read more child abuse stories.)