The Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi clarified recently that a victim of child sexual abuse can file a complaint at any time irrespective of his or her present age. She further urged the victims to report the cases through POCSO e-Box.
The clarification came after WCD Ministry consulted with the Ministry of Law in view of the overriding provisions of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act over other criminal laws and provisions of mandatory reporting of such offences.
The Law Ministry after examining the provisions of POCSO Act with regard to the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) advised that there appears no period of limitation mentioned in Section 19 in regard to reporting of the offences under the POCSO Act, 2012.
• The Law Ministry noted that the POCSO Act does not provide for any period of limitation for reporting the child sexual offences.
• Following this, the WCD Ministry stated that ‘now any victim, at any age, can complain about the sexual abuse faced by him or her as a child’.
• The WCD Minister stated that often, children are unable to report such crimes as the perpetrator in most cases is either a family member, a relative or closely known person.
• She said that studies have also shown that the child continues to carry the trauma of sexual abuse till very late in life. Hence, in order to overcome this trauma, many grown-up people have started coming out to report the abuse faced by them as children.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 came into force on November 14, 2012. The Act was passed in the Indian Parliament in May 2012.
The Act under its ambit defines child as a person below the age-group of 18 and is gender neutral and have a clear definition for all types of sexual abuses like sexual harassment, penetrative or non-penetrative sexual abuse, and pornography.
The Act under its ambit has tried to set up the standards of International Child Protection rights and has made it mandatory to report the sexual offences against any child. Punishment against the person trying the allegedly defame any person that also includes a child via false information is mentioned in this Act.
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