The Union Government on 22 February 2017 announced setting up of POSCO Victims Compensation Fund to provide financial help to children who are victims of sexual crimes.
The announcement was made by the Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi as as a response to a letter, which sought her attention to the plight of a three-year-old from Ahmednagar who was raped in December 2016.
The establishment of the fund is in tune with the objectives of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012. The money for this fund will be drawn from the Nirbhaya Fund.
About Nirbhaya Fund
• The fund was operationalised by the Union Government in April 2015 with a corpus of Rs 3000 crore.
• The primary objective of the fund is to improve safety and security of women in the country.
• As per the guidelines of the fund, the Ministry of Women and Children (WCD) can be approached by various Ministries and Departments with the proposals and schemes.
• The ministry forwards the suitable proposals to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) for necessary budgetary allocations in the respective Demands for Grants.
About Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POSCO) Act, 2012
• The Act seeks to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation by establishing special courts.
• The POSCO Act identifies any person below the age of 18 years as a child.
• In certain cases, if the child is between 16 and 18 years, it shall be examined whether consent for the act was taken against his will or was taken by drugs, impersonation and fraud.
• The Act penalises any person who commits offences such as “sexual harassment”, “sexual assault”, “penetrative sexual assault” and “aggravated penetrative sexual assault”.
• A person commits “sexual harassment” if he uses words or shows body parts to a child with sexual intent. The penalty for this offence is imprisonment for up to three years and a fine.
• A person commits “penetrative sexual assault” if he penetrates his penis into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a child.
What: Will be set up