Author: Somya Gupta, Student at Law College, Dehradun, Uttaranchal University.
‘Child Sexual Abuse’ is growing at a high rate all around the world. India is one of the countries facing maximum noticeable scenarios of sexual offences with children. However, the Indian laws are not sufficient in many ways to deal with such a sensitive and important issue. In India there are 430 million youngsters of which one in every sixth is under 18 years of age who has to deal with a number of problems as hunger, poverty, forced labour , sexual harassment, malnutrition, illiteracy, drug abuse, violence etc., since the time of their birth. This paper in particular studies the issues of minor regarding sexual assault in India. Physical or psychological maltreatment of a minor by an individual in a place of faith and reliance in relation to the minor is known as child sexual abuse. The adolescent is used to provide sexual pleasure or gratification to the person. In a national study conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, ‘sexual abuse’ was described as making a child caress his or her private parts or exposing private body parts and being pictured naked.The document, however, did not reflect the true truth since most cases go unreported due to the disgrace associated with it in our culture. The ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ is yet an under determined offence in India which is neglected by public at majority and not taken sternly by the criminal justice system. Realizing the vulnerability of children , the effective measures were taken for the regulation of sexual offences against them, and hence, The ‘Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act’, 2012 (POCSO) was enacted to fill in the gap left by the ‘Indian Penal Code’ since it was insufficient to counter sexual offences and previous criminal suggestions had no reference to facilitate sexual abuse of children.
All types of child sexual assault are described as specific offences under this statute, with specific penalties for offenders. Previously, there was no provision that specifically described any non-penetrative sexual offence perpetrated against boys, which is now specifically defined. The new legislation further establishes procedures for police and judicial officials to follow while dealing with survivors. Special child courts have since been established to address the problem, but the successful implementation of these rules remains a source of concern. The lack of implementation has severely hindered the country’s efforts to shield children from sexual exploitation.
Furthermore, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights, which was constituted as an autonomous agency in 2007, ensures that all other rules, legislation, and programmes are in accordance with the child rights embodied in the Indian Constitution and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Commission has since been tasked with overlooking the POSCO Act’s enforcement.
Aside from these domestic legislation, India is a signatory to a number of international human rights conventions and agreements, including the International Treaty on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, all of which include explicit safeguards for children’s rights. They recommend that the government adopt and enforce effective measures to deter and prosecute crimes, as well as that the government adopt and implement effective measures to hinder such harassment. The Human Rights Network requires the Indian government to implement and enact policies that successfully deter and address sexual abuse against children and secure justice.
Keywords: Child Sexual Abuse, POCSO, Indian Penal Code, Criminal Justice, Sexual Assault.