28 Apr 2018 #Abuse

Union minister for women and child development Maneka Gandhi pressed on the fact that her ministry wishes to amend the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) act slapping a death penalty for rape of children below 12 years of age. This has attracted different opinions from across the nation. This amendment was in retribution of the barbaric Kathua rape and murder case of a 8 year old girl in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. But before understanding the implications of the amendment , let’s just understand what POCSO is and what is included in this act.

POCSO Act was formed to address sexual abuse and exploitation of children. This act got the president’s consent on 19 June 2012. It specifies different forms of sexual abuse including penetrative and non –penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography.

The act considers an individual below 18 years of age as a child and makes provisions for avoiding the victimizing of the child at the hands of the judicial system. In case of physical or emotional assault of a child the act provides the following provisions:

  • Special courts that conduct trails under surveillance without revealing the identity of the child.

  • Presence of a trusted person or assistance from an interpreter, special educator while providing evidence.

  • It stipulates that a case must be disposed off within one year from the date the offence is reported.

  • To increase % of reporting, the act makes reporting of such cases of sexual offences compulsory. It mandates reporting by a person who has the knowledge of the crime, failing which an individual is liable for six months imprisonment and /or a fine.

So it is the prime responsibility of an individual to report child abuses as it is only through accurate reporting of actual crimes that will lead to an awakening in the society. Redressal is only possible when such cases come in the light. Conscious efforts at mass level can go a long way in generating awareness about the gravity of these brutalities with children. It is only when we decide to be proactive citizens that the perpetrators will face the heat of the law.

This will only materialize when we create a congenial environment where children can talk freely about abuse and assaults so that we can ensure a better plan for their holistic development where stories of utter barbarism does not haunt any child anymore.

#let’s trump the taboo

#let’s talk about sexual assault

#one step towards a safer India

-By Pallak