In the last few years, one after the other gruesome incidents of child sexual abuse in the country have bowed the head of human society in shame. Despite the continuous tightening of laws and regulations by the government, the incidents are not taking the name of decreasing. In every state, every city, news of child sexual abuse is heard every day. Now the Supreme Court is also going to hear public interest litigation on Friday, taking cognizance of the increasing incidents of child sexual abuse in the country.
The biggest court of the country is also starting the hearing in this serious matter. Maybe some new and tough decision will come out. At present, cases of criminal and sexual abuse against children are increasing continuously in the country. India reported 36,022 cases of child sexual abuse every year, UP on top in the list while J&K is safest on the basis of cases.
13.6 percent increase in crime
If we look at the last report based on crime released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) in 2016, there has been an increase in criminal activities against children across the country. In 2014, 89,423 incidents of crime against children were registered. This was followed by 94,172 incidents in 2015 and 1,06,958 in 2016. In these 3 years, the crime rate against children reached 24 percent. The crime occurred at 13.6 per cent in 2015-16 as compared to 5.3 per cent in 2014-15.
In 2016, out of 1,06,958 incidents involving children, 36,022 cases were registered under the POCSO Act, 2012, with Uttar Pradesh (4,954) reporting the highest number of cases. Uttar Pradesh is followed by Maharashtra (4,815) and Madhya Pradesh (4,717). In this way, an increase of 34.4 percent was registered in the case of child sexual abuse.
Capital Delhi is also unsafe for children
The national capital Delhi is also not lagging behind in terms of child sexual abuse. 1,620 cases were registered here, which is more than any other union territory. More than a thousand cases of child sexual abuse have been registered in 14 states and union territories of the country.
Until recently, many cases like the Kathua and Unnao rape cases were very much discussed, but the rate of child sexual abuse (registered under the POCSO Act) in the terror-affected state of Jammu and Kashmir for a long time is very low compared to other states. In this sense, this state can be considered safe for children.
The NCRB 2016 report says that only 25 cases of child sexual abuse were registered in this state in 2016. It is followed by Manipur (43), Arunachal Pradesh (59) and Goa (75).
Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of rapes
Jammu and Kashmir is also safe in the case of child sexual abuse (child rape) under the POCSO Act and Section 376 of the IPC and only 21 cases have been registered. In Nagaland also 21 cases were reported. As far as the maximum number of cases are concerned, Madhya Pradesh has the highest number of rape cases with children.
Maharashtra (2,292) and Uttar Pradesh (2,115) are the other two most infamous states after Madhya Pradesh (2,467). In these 3 states, more than 2 thousand cases were registered under the POCSO Act and Section 376 of IPC. Whereas in 4 other states between 1 thousand and 2 thousand cases were registered.
UP at the fore in physical abuse
As far as physical abuse of children is concerned, Uttar Pradesh (2,652) is at the forefront. It is followed by Maharashtra (2,370) and Madhya Pradesh (2,106). In Delhi, this figure is 769. At the same time, only 2 such cases came in Jammu and Kashmir.
In 2016, 48 cases (sections 14 and 15) related to child pornography/stories related to child pornography were registered across the country, with Jharkhand having the highest number of 19 cases. After this comes the number of Tamil Nadu where 9 cases were registered.
At the same time, 882 cases were registered in the country in the case of sexual harassment (Section 12 of POCSO Act / Section 509 of IPC). In this, Telangana (178) was at the forefront. Uttar Pradesh (123) stood second.
692 cases of sexual abuse are false
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report released in 2016 says that 36,022 cases of child sexual abuse were registered under POCSO in 2015, compared to 12,038 cases that were to be investigated last year. In this way, 48,060 cases are registered under POCSO. 12,226 cases of sexual abuse of children (Section 8 and 10/IPC of POCSO section 354) were registered while 19,765 new cases of rape (under POCSO section 4 and 6/Section 376 of IPC) were registered.
In addition to 48,060 cases registered under child sexual abuse, allegations of sexual abuse were found to be true in 868 cases, but due to lack of concrete evidence, the accused were acquitted while 692 cases of sexual abuse proved to be false.
Government tightened POCSO
Two days before this, the Union Cabinet also gave its approval to several amendments to tighten the Protection of Child Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act to check the increasing incidents of child sexual abuse.
The proposed amendments have made provisions for the death penalty for serious sexual assaults against children and stringent punishment for other offences against minors. Changes have been brought in 3 sections (4, 5 and 6) of the POCSO Act to make punishment more stringent in cases of child sexual abuse (death penalty).
No report after 2016
The annual report on crime in India was last released in 2017 which was based on the events of 2016. But after this, the reports of 2017 and 2018 have not been released yet. The opposition has also been raising questions on the non-release of the annual report.
Last month, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had questioned the intention of the government, saying that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report has not been released after 2016. If things are against the government, then it is becoming a new tradition that should not be kept in the house.
However, officials associated with NCRB say that due to the non-submission of reports of their respective states by West Bengal and Bihar, there is a delay in finalizing the 2017 report.
Now the case of child sexual abuse is in the Supreme Court. It should be expected that the court, with the help of the government, takes some more stringent steps that the human society, which calls itself a part of civilized society, will avoid committing such heinous acts and children’s childhood will be safe. Also, the culprits should be given the harshest punishment as soon as possible so that all the avenues of safe escape for the criminals after the crime files are closed.
Stop Child Sexual Abuse against Children: Since Independence
Child Sexual Abuse against children endangers not only their life and health, but also their emotional well-being and future. Child Sexual Abuse against children is rampant in India and it is a harsh reality for millions of children. More than half of the world’s children have endured severe Child Sexual Abuse and 64 percent of this number are in South Asia.
All children have the right to be protected from Child Sexual Abuse, exploitation and harassment. Nevertheless, millions of children across the world of all socio-economic backgrounds of all ages, religions and cultures are victims of Child Sexual Abuse, violence, exploitation and abuse every day. This child sexual abuse can be interpersonal and is the result of structures that allow and encourage violent behaviour.
Evidence shows that sexual abuse is often perpetrated by a person known to the child. This includes parents, other family members, their caregivers, teachers, owners, law enforcement officials, state and non-state actors, and other children. Sexual abuse occurs in all contexts—in the home, family, school, care, and justice system-related place, workplace, and community.
People are hesitant to filed reports for sexual abuse against children. For this reason, the information about the number of children facing Sexual harassment is less than the reality. As a result, investigations of these crimes are reduced and very few perpetrators are held accountable.
There is significant evidence that violence, exploitation and abuse are harmful in the short and long term to a child’s physical and mental health. Such children may have less ability to learn and social coordination. Its adverse consequences are also seen in their adult life.
Governments, policymakers and child-focused organizations such as UNICEF have a responsibility to create a safe environment for children and protect children who have been victims of sexual harassment. Government, community, local administration, non-governmental organizations, religious and social organizations can help in ensuring a safe environment for children.
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