A child who is protected is a potential national resource, whereas an exploited child may first become a victim before turning against them. A child requires safety, security, harmony, love, and care in order to develop fully and reach his or her potential. But it is the responsibility of all stakeholders to make the environment conducive to the holistic development of a child. As human values are changing and humanitarian principles are gaining momentum, we should consider the child to be the most fundamental and imperative element of the nation. It is our duty to work together in accomplishing the goal of the well-being of all children.
Extent Of Child Sexual Abuse In India
The issue of child sexual abuse is widespread throughout the world. There are 430 million children in India (according to the 2011 Census), and issues like poverty, a lack of basic amenities for a better standard of living, and a lack of education make the issue of child sexual abuse much worse. The National Crime Records Bureau (2016) findings made it abundantly evident that child rape was involved in 36,022 (34.4%) of the cases recorded under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012. The highest percentages of child abuse instances (15.3%, 13.6%, and 13.1%, respectively) were reported in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.
POSCO Act, 2012
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012, protects children from sexual abuse.
A child’s psyche is scarred by sexual abuse, which causes depression, emotional anguish, and mental impairment. POCSO Act unquestionably includes protections against child pornography and sexual assault. The penalties for sexual offenses against children have grown more severe as a result of the change in 2019. However, India still needs to do far more to reduce child sex crimes.
To monitor the implementation of the Act, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commissions for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs) have been made the designated authority. Both are statutory bodies.
Section 42 A of the Act provides that in case of inconsistency with provisions of any other law, the POCSO Act shall override such provisions. The Act calls for mandatory reporting of sexual offenses. A false complaint with intent to defame a person is punishable under the Act.
The act was amended in 2019 to increase the minimum punishment from seven years to ten years. It further adds that if a person commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below the age of 16 years, he will be punished with imprisonment between 20 years to life, with a fine.
The Act defines child pornography as any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child, including photographs, video, digital, or computer-generated images indistinguishable from an actual child. The Act is critical as it clearly defines child pornography and makes it punishable. The amendments also penalize the transmitting of pornographic material to children and propose synchronizing it with the IT Act.
The Act enhances punishment for sexual offenses against children with a provision for the death penalty.
A child’s psyche is scarred by sexual abuse, which causes depression, emotional anguish, and mental impairment. POCSO Act unquestionably includes protections against child pornography and sexual assault