PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCES: LAW AND ITS EFFECTIVENESS
Childhood is considered to be the most crucial phase of human growth and also the most memorable one. It is much more than just the space between birth and the attainment of adulthood. It is a precious time in which children should live free from fear, safe from violence and protected from abuse and exploitation. It’s time for children to be in school and at playground, to grow strong and confident with the love and encouragement of the family and an extended community of caring adults. But what if the childhood becomes a never ending nightmare? A childhood where child refuses to go to school out of an unusual fear? A childhood where he refuses to play outside as he is scared to be surrounded by people? Just imagine a childhood when his own house, the safest place for a child turns out to be an exploitation camp by his own inmates. The entire childhood get raped! We can’t imagine of anything more horrific. The stories of abuse and exploitation of children is all around us. We read about them in the papers, watch them in news and see hundreds of children being exploited as we go about our everyday lives. As per a study conducted by Ministry of women and child department, 53 percent of children in India have suffered some kind of sexual abuse in their childhood and the more shocking fact is that unlike the ordinary notion, 50 percent abusers are known to the child or in a position of trust or responsibility. *CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE DEFINED
Child abuse may be emotional, mental, physical or sexual and encompasses a much wider gamut of actions .On the other hand Child sexual abuse is that which targets sexuality and/or sexual organs, involves sexual gestures, words, pictures, actions. It’s the most heinous manifestation of abuse of children as it traumatizes the child for the whole life in all ways, sexually, physically, psychologically and socially, leaving behind a scarred childhood and a disillusioned adulthood caused by the past memories. According WHO, child sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give consent to or that violates the laws or social taboos of society. While releasing the Report on Child abuse in India, 2007, Women and child Development minister, Renuka Chaudhary said “child abuse is shrouded in secrecy and there is a conspiracy of silence around the entire subject”. Both the government and the NGO’S working in this field find it difficult to get the accurate data. *INDIAN CONSTITUTION, INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION AND THE LEGISLATIVE LAWS: RECOGNITION OF THE CHILD RIGHTS AND THEIR PROTECTION Looking into the details of child abuse in India, our legal framework and the relevant legislations, Indian constitution recognising the vulnerable position of children and various crimes against children that are linked to sexual abuse provides for their protection from such offences. Article 15 provides for special attention to children through necessary and special laws and policies that safeguard their interest. Article 23 provides protection against human trafficking and forced labour. Article 24 and 39 specifically prohibits children from engaging in hazardous employment and protection from exploitation respectively. Thus Indian constitution has provided for a framework which serves as a direction to the legislature to make child protection laws. India’s commitment to the issue is also emboldened by the fact that India is a signatory nation to the UN Convention on the Rights of Child, 1989. One important regional convention here is the SAARC convention on preventing and combating trafficking in women and children, 2002. Looking at the legislative laws the parliament of India recently passed Protection of children from sexual offences Act, 2012. The act has filled a glaring lacuna in the law. We will get into the details of the Act at the later stage of...
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