Sexual offences are a violation of human rights. They are condemnable, reprehensive and repugnant reducing human dignity and rights of individuals. At least three out of four of the world’s children – 1.7 billion – have experienced interpersonal violence, cruelty or abuse in their daily lives in a previous year, regardless of whether they lived in rich countries or poor.
Many cases like rape, hitherto, including sexual offences against children, were dealt under IPC but a large number of offences against children were not adequately addressed by the existing laws. Such offences against children needed to be defined explicitly and countered through adequate penalties as effective deterrence but the Indian Penal Code (IPC) does not differentiate between adult and child victims hence with increasing number of offences were alarming. Hence the POCSO Act was implemented to deal specifically with sexual offences committed against children.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012 strengthens the legal provisions for the protection of children from sexual abuse and exploitation. It provides protection to all children under the age of 18 years from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. The Act provides for stringent punishments which have been graded as per the gravity of the offence.
Under Section 44 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences(POCSO)Act and Rule 6 of POCSO Rules, 2012, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in addition to its assigned functions, also mandated:
- To monitor in the implementation of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012
- To monitor the designation of Special Courts by State Governments.
- To monitor the appointment of Public Prosecutors by State Governments.
- To monitor the formulation of the guidelines described in section 39 of the Act by the State Governments, for the use of non-governmental organisations, professionals and experts or persons having knowledge of psychology, social work, physical health, mental health and child development to be associated with the pre-trial and trial stage to assist the child, and to monitor the application of these guidelines.
- To monitor the designing and implementation of modules for training police personnel and other concerned persons, including officers of the Central and State Governments, for the effective discharge of their functions under the Act.
- To monitor and support the Central Government and State Governments for the dissemination of information relating to the provisions of the Act through media including the television, radio and print media at regular intervals, so as to make the general public, children as well as their parents and guardians aware of the provisions of the Act.
- To call for a report on any specific case of child sexual abuse falling within the jurisdiction of a CWC
- To collect information and data on its own or from the relevant agencies regarding reported cases of sexual abuse and their disposal under the processes established under the Act, including information on the following:-
- Number and details of offences reported under the Act.
- Whether the procedures prescribed under the Act and rules were followed,Including those regarding timeframes;
- Details of arrangements for care and protection of victims of offences under this Act, including arrangements for emergency medical care and medical examination
- Details regarding assessment of the need for care and protection of a child by the concerned CWC in any specific case.
- To assess the implementation of the provisions of the Act and to include a report in a separate chapter in its Annual Report to the Parliament.