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Explained: Child Sexual Abuse and the Law in India

(Image: Shutterstock)

(Image: Shutterstock)

A child is any person under the age of 18 years, known as age of maturity as per laws applicable in India

What is Child Abuse?

Any act, failure or negligence on the part of any individual; adult or child, that leads to a severe threat to the life, development and wellbeing of a child and results in prolonged physical and psycho-social impact on his/her health and wellbeing.

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

The Child Sexual Abuse is an involvement of a child in a sexual activity that he/she does not fully understand and approve. A child is naturally considered to be uninformed of the sexual activity and while being developmentally unprepared for the act, is unable to give an intelligent informed consent.

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What is POCSO?

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 addresses redressal of child sexual abuse by enlisting a wide range of sexual offences against children.

Who is a child under the POCSO Act?

A child is any person under the age of 18 years, known as age of maturity as per laws applicable in India.

When can a POCSO case be filed?

Any person who has apprehension of or knowledge that any action under POCSO has been committed, shall report such information.

Who can file a POCSO case?

Anyone including parents, doctors, school personnel and/or the child himself/herself.

What is the procedure for filing a POCSO case?

Any person that has apprehension that any offence under this act has been committed or is likely to be committed should provide this information to the Special Juvenile Police Unit or the local police for immediate and appropriate action.

Is there a time before which abuse must be reported? Is there a limitation period?

The POCSO Act does not provide for any period of limitation for reporting the child sexual abuse. A victim, at any age, can complain about the sexual abuse faced by him/her as a child.

(The author, Prachi Mishra, is a Supreme Court lawyer and Additional Advocate General, Chhattisgarh)

first published:March 18, 2021, 08:05 IST