Child Sexual Abuse in India

Last Updated: May 2023 (Child Sexual Abuse in India)

Child Sexual Abuse in India

This article deals with ‘Child Sexual Abuse in India . This is part of our series on ‘Society’ which is an important pillar of the GS-1 syllabus. For more articles, you can click here.

Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse 
Children's involvement in a sexual 
activity that they (according to WHO) 
don't fully comprehend 
can't give informed consent to 
violates societal laws and taboos
  • 1.07 Lakh cases of Child Sexual Abuse in 2016 (NCRB data) 
  • (In)famous Example: the Bombay Orphanage Case ( 2011), where there was sexual abuse of young boys.

Causes of Child Sexual Abuse

Causes of Sexual Abuse
  • Poverty: In slums, children are most vulnerable to sexual abuse. 
  • Unregulated web content: Porn is freely available.
  • Psychological reason: The person involved in these types of crimes has a history of sexual violence & generally, the culprit is once a victim of the same crime
  • Cultural Norms and Taboos: cultural norms and taboos in India reinforce gender inequality, resulting in the stigmatization of survivors. Hence, these incidents are not reported.
  • Lack of Sex Education: Sex Education is considered taboo in India. Hence, there is a lack of awareness about consent in healthy sexual relationships. 
  • The emergence of nuclear and dual-carrier families
  • Weak Justice System: In India, laws such as POCSO Act exist. But due to a weak justice system, there is inadequate enforcement of laws.
  • Lack of sanitization facilities within the home 

Measure to Control Child Sexual Abuse in India

1. Constitutional Measures

  • Article 23: Prohibition of traffic in human beings, begar & other similar forms of forced labour.

2. Legal Measures

2.1 POCSO (Prevention of Children against Sexual Offence) Act, 2012

  • POCSO defines a child as a person below 18 years.
  • Section 7 defines sexual assault of a child as “whoever, with sexual intent, touches the vagina, penis, anus, or breast of such person.”
  • POCSO is gender-neutral law (the safety of both boys and girls is covered). 
  • It has widened the ambit of sexual abuse. It includes touch as well as non-touch behaviour. 
  • The act is non-bailable, cognizable and non-compoundable. 
  • For Penetrative Sexual Assault, the burden of proof is shifted on the accused. 
  • It has the provision of special courts, special public prosecutors and in-camera trials.
  • The media is barred from disclosing the identity of the child.  

2.2. Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2018

Section 376 of IPC has been amended with the following provisions.

  • The minimum punishment for the offence of rape has been increased 10 years (from 7 years). 
  • The rape of a woman below 16 years has been made punishable for life.
  • The rape of women below 12 years has been made punishable with imprisonment for life or death.
  • The time limit of the investigation has been reduced to two months and six months for the disposal of cases.

2.3 CrPC (Amendment) Act, 2013

  • The age of consent for sex increased from 16 to 18.

2.4 IT Act, 2000

  • IT Act deals with the issue of pornography affecting children. Section 67 B states that browsing, publishing or transmitting any content which involves children in sexual activity is a criminal offence (5 years in jail).

3. Conventions

3.1 United Nations Convention on Rights of Child (UNCRC)

  • It prohibits the use of children for sexual purposes.

4. NGOs

Various NGOs work in this regard

  1. Child Rights and You
  2. Bachpan Bachao Andolan 

5. Schemes

  • Aarambh Initiative: To curb sexual abuse of children through the internet and remove child pornographic content.
  • Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
  • Operation Muskaan: It aims to rehabilitate the missing children.

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