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Child sexual abuse: Issues and concerns

Child sexual abuse is a repugnant phenomenon which occurs throughout the country. It is a Pressing human right issue and a public health concern. Miserable condition of the victims of CSA And with the arduous efforts of the NGOs, Activists and Ministry of Women and child welfare, Government were compelled to make law granting legal protection to the victims of CSA and bring Culprits to the books.

A special law – POCSO 2012 – which criminalizes a number of actions like child abuse, Harassment and recruitment for pornography has become a welcome change. In order to Promote fast-tracks in CSA situations, the law requires the creation of special courts. The Aims and unintended effects of applying the law in India are emphasized in this Article.

Purpose behind Enactment of POCSO, 2012

Kacker and Kumar (2008)

The first major research study funded by the government to determine the magnitude and Essence of child abuse in India (Kacker and Kumar) led to increasing questions about Women’s infanticide, rape and institutional abuse of childhood (2008).

The research, based on:
A well-developed methodology, covered 13 states (two states from each of the six geographic Zones in the country). It involved 12,447 children, 2324 young adults and 2449 stakeholders From five separate categories of evidence: children in the home, at the workplace, on the road And in the institutions.

This was a particular survey. In all the states studied the study was Showing broad prevalence of mental, physical and sexual violence. Almost 69 per cent (n = 12,447) reported physical abuse and 53 per cent (n = 12,447) reported some form of sexual Abuse while every second child reported emotional abuse. Persons known to the child, or in A trust and responsibility position, have committed half of the sexual abuse reported. (Kacker al. 2007: )

Deb and Mukherjee (2011)

This study aimed to investigate psychological, social and emotional adaptation in Kolkata, West Bengal for sexually exploited young girls aged 13–18. The researchers were also trying To understand the response of these sexually exploited girls and how they viewed individual And group therapy. One-hundred twenty (120) sexually abused girls housed in either government Observation Homes or NGO based Rehabilitation Homes were compared with 120 Indian Schoolgirls of similar cultural and economic background who reported no incidences of sexual abuse. These shelters are for children in distressed conditions, including trafficked and sexually abused Children.

Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used to collect information regarding Participants’ history of CSA, psychological and emotional symptoms, and background information. The results indicated that 93 % of the sexually abused girls came from families that were rural, poor, And low in educational background, and of a nuclear family structure.

Legal Protection Available To CSA Victims Before POCSO, 2012

Until 2012, the only sexual offences against children recognized by the law were covered by Three sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) not specific to children. The only crimes Registered were rape (sexual intercourse without consent—section 376), outraging modesty of A woman (unspecified acts—section 354) and unnatural acts defined as:
Carnal intercourse Against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal (anal sex, homosexuality or Bestiality—section 377).

Consequently, other forms of non-penetrative sexual assaults, Harassment and exploitation were not explicitly recognized as crimes and therefore not Recorded (assuming they were reported). Increased activism around child protection issues in The media and public discourse might partly account for the Government of India passing a Special law called:
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) 2012.

This Act criminalizes sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography involving a child (under 18 years of age) and mandates the setting up of Special Courts to expedite trials of these Offences.

Post enactment of POCSO Act, 2012

Crime in India 2019 by the National Crime Record Bureau reveals that child crime· Has risen by 4.5% compared with 2018 in 2019.

The study added that the registration of cases under the POCSO Act had also been· Increased by 18.9%.

The NCRB estimated that in 2019 there were registered in the country at least 1, 48,145 crimes against children.·

In this, 31.2 per cent cases of crimes against children were registered under the· POCSO Act, 2012

Out of 26,192 cases registered under the POCSO Act involving rape charges, 24,672· Accused were known to the survivors. Furthermore, in 2,153 cases, the accused was Amongst the Family Members.

The highest number of crimes against girls under the POCSO Act was registered by· Uttar Pradesh in 7, 444 incidents. Followed were 6,402 cases for Maharashtra and 6,053 cases for MP.

Distinctive Features of POCSO, 2012

The more widely used word rape·& will also not be used by POCSO 2012 and does not Limit penetration to penile sex. It instead raises the crime of penetrative sexual assault (Section 3), which involves oral sex and the injection into the anus, mouth or vagina Of any material in addition to penile penetration.

In State vs. Pankaj Choudhary, 2011, Only the accused (pre-POCSO) could be charged for outraging woman's modesty For a digital penetration of a 5-year-old child's anus and vagina. The prosecution failed to prove the breach, as the High Court found that digital penetration was not an Offense under the Indian Penal Code (Delhi High Court 2011). Increased coverage of Protection for children has been applied to the definition of penetration.
  • POCSO also criminalizes a variety of conduct that is short of penetration as sexual Assaults (section 7). Furthermore, crimes against 'aggravated' sexual harassment are Made more serious and penalized by a certain number of offenders and in many Circumstances or circumstances, and/or have severe consequences for the victims (Sections 5, 9). This involves sexual attacks carried out in a shared home with the Child by people in authority or place of influence in relation to the child in situations Like: gang rape, causing serious bodily harm, guns or corrosive substances, group or Sectarian abuse, assaulting children under the age of 12, or people in physical or Mental health. The concept is very extensive and encompasses a number of situations.
     
  • The requirement of special tribunals (Section 35), in order for the evidence provided By a victim to be handled in a more careful manner, is intended to protect not only the Distress of the victim but also the identity of the child by means of video links or Screens or video-links. In how the law and facts are perceived, the Special Court plays a key role.


Conclusion
POCSO, 2012 has not made an exceptional changes in the society. According to NCRB report 2019 Cases of Child sexual abuse are increasing with the every passing Year. Yes, POCSO, 2012 has made some significant changes by enlarging the Definition of Rape, Penetration, Consent and making stringent punishments for the Accused. But it has not stood up to expectations. Perhaps, merely putting laws in the Statutory books isn’t going to fix the issue, proper implementation is must.

But no matter how much evil I see, I think it’s important for everyone to Understand that there is much light than darkness- Robert Uttaro

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