Child Sexual abuse is an abuse in which an adult or older uses a child for sexual activities. Whether by asking, pressurising or by any other means such as indecent exposure, child grooming, or by using them to produce child pornography.
Child sexual abuse can take place at home, school, classes or workplace, where child labours work, etc. In India, the main reason for sexual abuse is child marriage. That is the reason why the Indian Government has decided and declared the age limit for marriage, but in some states, child marriage never ends up. Sexual abuse of child includes depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, mentally unstable, anxiety, physical injury etc.
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
It's a United Nations (UN) program. It's headquartered in New York City that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. The organisation began its work in India in 1949 with three staff members and established an office in Delhi three years later.
Causes for Child Abuse:
Child abuse is a complex phenomenon with multiple causes. No single factor can be recognized as to why some adults behave so violent towards the children. World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Society for Prevention of Child abuse (ISPCAN) identify the multiple factors at the level of the individual, their relationships, and their local community.
At the individual level, the same factors include sex, age and personal history, while at the level of society; determinant that contributes to child maltreatment includes cultural norms encouraging harsh and physical punishment of children, the lack of social safety nets and economic inequality.
Three Types Of Child Sexual Abuse:
Sexual Assault – It is an act in which a person intentionally sexually touches another person without that person's consent or coerces or physically forces a person to engage in a sexual act against their will. It is also an offence in which an adult uses a minor for sexual fulfilment; for example, rape and sexual penetration with an object.
Sexual Exploitation – It is a term defining offences in which an adult deceives a minor for advancement, sexual satisfaction, or profit; for example, prostituting a child, and creating or trafficking in child pornography.
Sexual Grooming – It is establishing an emotional connection with a child, and sometimes the family, to lower the child's inhibitions with the objective of sexual abuse. It is social conduct of a potential child sex offender who tries to make a minor more accepting of their advances, for example in an online chat room.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012:-
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 was passed to provide a robust legal framework for the protection of children from offences of sexual assault, pornography and sexual harassment, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process. The Act was passed to strengthen legal provisions for the protection of children below 18 years of age from sexual abuse and exploitation.
Under this Act, if any girl under 18 is seeking an abortion, the service provider is compelled to register a complaint of sexual assault with the police. However, under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, it is not compulsory to report the identity of the person is seeking an abortion. Consequently, service providers are hesitant to provide abortion services to girls under 18.
Punishment under the POSCO Act: The central government recently amended the POSCO Act, regarding rape against the girl child and the punishment is as follows:
- In the case of gang-rape of a girl below the age of 12, the punishment is the Life imprisonment or death penalty.
- In the case of rape of a girl below the age of 12, the punishment will be- death penalty, life imprisonment or minimum imprisonment of 20 years.
- In the case of gang-rape of a girl below the age of 16, the punishment will be- imprisonment for the rest of life.
- In case of rape of a girl below the age of 16, the punishment will be- imprisonment for 20 years (earlier 10 years) which is extendable for rest of life.
- In the case of rape of a woman, the minimum punishment has been provided to be 10 years (earlier 7 years) which is extendable to life imprisonment.
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