Crimes against children: India

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‘Let us fill our eyes with tears’
Amul butter’s April 2018 contribution to the nationwide shame and sorrow over the rape and murder of girl-children in Unnao, Kathua, Surat and Etah.

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The position in the states: annual statistics

2008-18: Kerala records increase in number of crime against children

M.P. Praveen, Kerala records a rising graph of crimes against children, January 11, 2019: The Hindu

Total number of crimes against children in Kerala during the period- 2008-October 2018
From: M.P. Praveen, Kerala records a rising graph of crimes against children, January 11, 2019: The Hindu


More reporting due to greater awareness: ADGP

There has been a steady increase in crimes committed against children in Kerala, according to a data released by the Kerala State Crime Records Bureau (SCRB).

Government officials are attributing this to increased reporting of crimes because of better awareness, but social workers contend that crimes against children have indeed increased.


Rise in offences

A decadal comparison of data shows that 549 offences against children under all categories were recorded in 2008, while the number shot up to 3,278 as of October, 2018. This includes both serious and other offences. Cases of rape rose from 215 in 2008 to 1,101 in 2017, and 999 in the first 10 months of 2018. There were noticeable spurts in the number of recorded rape cases in 2011, touching 423, compared to 208 a year earlier. A similar trend of increases was noted in 2013, 2016 and 2017, over the preceding year.

“Unlike other States, there is increased awareness in Kerala about the crimes against children and greater reporting of such crimes is reflected in the statistics,” said Tomin J. Thachankary, Additional DGP, SCRB. Cases of murder of children, however, dropped from 37 in 2008 to 18 in 2018. There have been no infanticide cases over the past three years, after four cases in 2015.

There was a single instance of trafficking of a minor girl last year, an improvement over all other years including the base year of 2008, when there were 13 cases. But cases registered under the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act rose from four in 2008 to 17 in 2017 and 15 till October 2018.

Sheeba George, Director of Women and Child Development Department, said while increased reporting might have resulted in a higher number of cases, crimes against children had risen over the years.

Nirish Antony, Senior Programme Coordinator of Childline, said vacations were the time when children were found to be most vulnerable. “A pre-vacation awareness class could be held for students and parents,” he said.

2012: UP most unsafe place for children

The Times of India 2013/06/15

The Times of India

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh topped the list of crimes against children with 15.8% such cases reported from the state in 2012, according to the latest National Crime Record Bureau report. It ranked second in crimes against women.

Madhya Pradesh is ranked second with 13.5% cases of crimes reported against children. Delhi, Maharashtra and Bihar are ranked third (11.7%), fourth (9%) and fifth (7.6%). West Bengal is one of the safest states for children with only 4.5% of total cases against kids reported from there.

There is some good news though for UP, as it no longer tops the list of major crimeprone states. Among the bigger and populous states, Delhi, West Bengal, Bihar, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh are as crime prone-now.

“UP has to face some many unique dimensions of crime because of its vast population and area. Still, it has been our endeavor to produce the best results. The crime trends of 2012 are encouraging, but there is still scope for improvement,” ADG Law & Order and Crime Arun Kumar said.

West Bengal tops the list of crimes against women, while Delhi has the highest rate of violent crimes in the country. Madhya Pradesh reported maximum rape cases (3,394), followed by West Bengal (2,040) and UP (1,951). TNN

Cases, number of/ Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO)

2001 to 2011: 336% spurt in child rape cases

‘336% spurt in child rape cases’

Child rapes.jpg

By TIMES NEWS NETWORK, The Times of India , 22 April 2013 The Times of India

Even as the national Capital protests against the heinous nature of the five-year-old child’s rape, an independent report, based on National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) figures, shows that India is no country for children.

The report says a total of 48,338 child rape cases was recorded between 2001 and 2011, and the nation saw an increase of 336% of such cases from 2001 (2,113) to 2011 (7,112).

The report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), however, warns that this is only the “tip of the iceberg” as the large majority of child rape cases are not reported to police while children regularly become victims of other forms of sexual assault too. Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of child rape cases with 9,465 cases between 2001 and 2011, followed by Maharashtra (6,868), Uttar Pradesh (5,949) and Andhra Pradesh (3,977). Delhi, which reported 2,909 cases, ranked sixth on the list.

The report, “India’s Hell Holes: Child Sexual Assault in Juvenile Justice Homes”, which has been submitted to the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, says that many of the cases take place in juvenile homes.

“It will not be an understatement to state that juvenile justice homes, established to provide care and protection as well as reintegration, rehabilitation and restoration of the juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, have become India’s hell holes where inmates are subjected to sexual assault and exploitation, torture and ill-treatment apart from being forced to live in inhuman conditions. The girls remain the most vulnerable. It matters little whether the juvenile justice homes are situated in Delhi or in mofussil towns,” said Suhas Chakma, director, ACHR.

The 56-page report also highlights 39 cases of systematic and often repeated sexual assault on children in juvenile justice homes. Out of the 39 cases, 11 were reported from governmentrun juvenile justice homes, while in one case a CWC member was accused of sexual harassment during counselling sessions.

The remaining 27 cases were reported from private or NGO-run juvenile justice homes.


2005-16: cases quadruple

Ambika Pandit, Two minor girls raped every hour in India, conviction rate low: NCPCR, September 14, 2018: The Times of India

i) Girls under 18 raped every day, 2005-16;
ii) Foeticide, infanticide and murder (2016);
iii) Kidnapping and abductions, 2016
From: Ambika Pandit, Two minor girls raped every hour in India, conviction rate low: NCPCR, September 14, 2018: The Times of India


Every hour, two girls below the age of 18 years were raped in India in 2016 while 44% of kidnappings registered during the year were of girls in that age group, according to data of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

In a situation analysis on violence against children, based on these NCRB data, National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and Child Fund India say girls below the age of 18 are the most vulnerable and many of those kidnapped are trafficked for labour and prostitution.

It has highlighted that despite the increase in the number of reported cases of child rape, conviction rate is low at around 28%. The disposal rate too remains low and by the end of 2016, police had disposed of about 64% of such cases.

The analysis, brought out in three volumes, says there is no clear and “comprehensive definition of what comprises as violence across laws”. It says violence against children is recognised only when it is registered as a criminal act. The NCRB data is the only reliable source that regularly monitors and tracks crimes against children, but it doesn’t report all incidents of violence against them, it says.

“There is a paucity of national level data for different forms of abuse and violence that children experience. Not all forms of violence are tracked, even when addressed in national policies. Hence it is difficult to establish the true scale of violence against children in India,” it pointed out.

“For example while the RTE Act, 2009 has made corporal punishment in schools a punishable offence, there is no system in place to monitor the extent to which teachers still use harsh disciplining methods against children,” says the report.

To drive home the need to have data on the issue, they cite a global study that points out that 1.3 billion children around the world experience harsh discipline at the hands of care-givers. Corporal punishment is the most commonly experienced form of violence starting as early as age 1 year.

2014: victims below (and above) 18: Indian states with the worst record

Indian states with the highest number of rapes, and percentage of victims above and below 18 years of age ; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, October 21, 2015

See graphic:

Indian states with the highest number of rapes, and percentage of victims above and below 18 years of age

2015, 2016: 43 to 49% cases were assaults by neighbours, relatives on under-18s

Nearly half of rape cases in Delhi have kids as victims; most in outer district, November 24, 2017: The Times of India

NGO Study Says 50% Of Delhiites Feel Unsafe In Capital


The belief that the capital is not safe for its children has been reaffirmed by data accessed through Right to Information requests. Nearly half the rape cases reported in Delhi in 2015 and 2016 involved assaults on children. Not surprisingly, a perception survey carried out by NGO Praja among 24,000 households showed that 50% of the people did not feel safe in Delhi. The comparative figure for Mumbai was 17%.

Data gathered by Praja through RTIs showed that 49.14% of rape cases in 2015 and 43.79% in 2016 were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, which deals with sexual assaults on children under the age of 18 years. With 178 cases, Outer district registered the most POCSO cases, followed by South East (125) and North East

(124). Outer district also had the maximum registered rape cases at 367 in 2016. In most cases of assaults on children, the perpetrators were neighbours or relatives.

South district reported the highest occurrence of molestation of women (590), while West had the most cases of chain snatching (1,018) in 2016. Praja’s report said, “Around 60% do not feel that Delhi is secure for women, children and senior citizens, 67% respondents from Chandni Chowk and South Delhi find the city unsafe/ not secure for women, children and senior citizens in one's locality and 57% do not feel secure while travelling in Delhi.”

Of the 24,301respondents in the survey, 15% had witnessed a crime in Delhi against only 5% in Mumbai. Of the respondents who saw a crime being committed, 57% did not inform the police. Of the 43% who did approach the police, 76% were not satisfied with the response. In contrast, half of Mumbaikars who witnessed a crime informed the police and were satisfied with the institutional response.

Praja also reported that crime did not seem to be top of the mind for Delhi’s members of Parliament. Quoting an RTI reply on the questions raised by MPs in Parliament between the Budget session of 2014 and the Budget session of 2017, the data showed Manoj Tiwari and Ramesh Bidhuri asking the maximum number of questions, six, on crime while Parvesh Sahib Singh asked only one question on the subject.

Speaking at the release of the white paper on crime in Delhi, journalist Rahul Dev said the “sexual demon which is at work across all sections of society in Delhi” needs to be countered by “creating and sustaining an awareness campaign against sexual abuse of the children with all the stakeholders i.e. children, parents, schools and colleges”.

2015-16, crime against children increased by 82%

Dipak Dash, Child rapes up 82% in 2016, UP records a 400% jump, December 1, 2017: The Times of India


Crimes By Juveniles Also Show Uptrend

Instances of child rape increased by 82% in 2016 in comparison to 2015. Uttar Pradesh registered a four-fold increase in such offences with the number of child rapes going up from 596 in 2015 to 2,115 in 2016, according to the report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

The report showed that 19,920 children were raped last year in comparison to 10,934 in 2015. Overall crimes against children saw the highest rise of 13.6% in 2016. Such crimes have been continuously on the rise over the past three years.

“Crimes against children have shown increasing trend over the past three years with significant increase of 13.6% (1,06,958) in 2016 over (94,172) in 2015. Kidnapping and abduction of children accounted for 52% of the cases followed by cases under POCSO,” a release issued by the home ministry said. POCSO stands for Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, which came into effect from 2012.

Maharashtra reported the highest number of child rapes at 2,467 in 2016, followed by Madhya Pradesh at 2,292. The report also shows an over 50% rise in cases of abduction and kidnapping in 2016 in comparison to 2015.

In a first, crime report of 2016 has included feticide cases, which were at 144.

It’s not just crimes against children which saw an increase, but also number of crimes committed by juveniles increased during 2016 by 7.2%. Rapes by juveniles increased from 1,688 in 2015 to 1,903 last year, an almost 13% jump. Similarly, the number of murders, kidnapping, abduction and thefts increased last year, the report shows.

The MHA release said: “20.6% (7,369) of cases under juvenile in conflict with law were reported in MP followed by 18.4% in Maharashtra (6,606) during 2016.”

According to the report, 9,932 juveniles held guilty last year were released on probation and placed under care of parents or guardians, while 10,019 were sent home after advise or admonition.

More than 60% children who went missing in 2016 were girls, most of them in Bengal

(15.1% out of 1,11,569). Across states, police had traced 55,944 children by 2017 end.

2015-17: POCSO cases in Delhi

7 POCSO cases every month, 90% of accused known to child, March 1, 2018: The Times of India

2015-17: POCSO cases in Delhi
How to tell if your child is being abused
Facts about POCSO
From: 7 POCSO cases every month, 90% of accused known to child, March 1, 2018: The Times of India

Police register seven cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act in Delhi every month. Officers said that the socio-economic inequalities in the underbellies of the city have led to an increase in the number of cases of sexual assault against children.

The cops dealing with child sexual abuse cases complained that parents are frequently found to be dissociated with the activities of their children due to their work schedules. “In cases where both the parents go out for work, the child is usually left with a neighbour or someone known to the family. For someone with ill intentions, this is an ideal opportunity," a police officer said.

Police claimed that the accused in POCSO cases are usually arrested within 24 hours of the crime. While reporting of sexual crimes has gone up due to awareness, there is usually an attempt to underplay their enormity because in most cases, the accused is a relative, a neighbour or a person known to the child. A police study put the percentage of the known accused at almost 90%.

In around 35% of the cases, the offenders are discovered to be people who are in an authoritative position, such as a teacher or a family elder. They are able to influence the child to the extent that they are terrified to complain about the abuse. Almost 90% of children counselled by NGOs and cops last year did not report the harassment to anyone until the abuse was discovered by the parents.

In any case, children below a certain age are normally unable to distinguish between an affectionate hug and an embrace loaded with sexual intent or are too shy to complain even if continuously assaulted. “They keep their trauma to themselves, frequently due to coercions and pressures,” said a woman police officer, who regularly counsels children.

Cops and legal experts agree that the longwinded process to establish the accuseds’ role in crimes give them time to convince the parents to withdraw their charges. Police officers said that almost 90% of POCSO cases have both the victim and accused belonging to the same community or colony.

A study by Delhi Police conducted in 2016 revealed that 84% of child rapes took place in houses or in slum clusters where the accused were known to the victim, and 39% of the crimes were found to involve the friends of the victims. The National Crime Records Bureau data of the same year showed that on average, only 61% of sexual cases were reported by economically disadvantaged groups. The data also recorded that 71 rape victims were aged below six years, while 806 were in the age group of 18-30.

A study conducted in 2015 by the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights established that 53% of children faced one or more forms of sexual abuse. Most victims were street children, children at work or in institutional care.

2015> 17/ Delhi, an analysis

An analysis of POCSO cases in Delhi, 2015- 17
From: Somreet Bhattacharya, April 18, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

An analysis of POCSO cases in Delhi, 2015- 17

2015: cases pending in children courts under POCSO

Pradeep Thakur, 47% of all pending POCSO cases are from Maharashtra , August 2, 2017: The Times of India


The pendency of cases of crimes against children have gone up significantly . Maharashtra accounts for nearly half of all the 27,500 cases of crime against children pending in the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) courts across the country , followed by Kerala, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The POCSO courts, set up in 2012, are special courts for the trial of cases of crimes against children to prevent minors from being victimised again in courts which otherwise have to deal with long pendency of other cases. A POCSO court has provision for incamera trial in a child-friendly environment without revealing the identity of children.

There are 591 such courts across the country , almost one in every district, to ensure that the trials are completed within a year from the date of registration of the FIR. These courts come under the direct supervision of the high court of respective states. According to the law ministry , 27,558 cases of crimes against children are pending in POCSO courts as of July this year, of which 12,990 are pending in Maha rashtra alone. The other states where such pendencies are high include Kerala (3,991), Rajasthan (3,828), Madhya Pradesh (1,241) and Bihar (950).

Crimes against children have gone up in recent years, and so have the pendencies in the special children courts set up to deal with such cases.

In order to deal with such cases, the high courts and state governments have taken various steps that included appointment of 459 special public prosecutors, 729 special juvenile police units and 591 special children courts set up in 694 districts, according to the law ministry . The only state which has not set up POCSO courts is Jammu and Kashmir as it is not governed under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, about 14,900 cases were registered under the POCSO Act during 2015, the available statistics. The highest was, however, registered in Uttar Pradesh (3,078 cases), followed by Madhya Pradesh (1,687) and Tamil Nadu (1,544 cases).

However, cases of crime against children booked under various laws have significantly gone up over the years.The NCRB says a total of 94,172 cases of crimes against children were registered in the country during 2015 as compared to 89,423 cases during 2014 and 58,224 in 2013.Maharashtra again accounted for the highest 14.8% of total crimes committed against children registered in the country , followed by Madhya Pradesh (13.7%), Uttar Pradesh (12%) and Delhi (10%).

2013/ Child rape: conviction rate

In 2013, trial completed in just 15% child rape cases

Abhinav Garg New Delhi:

The Times of India Jul 22 2014

Childrape.jpg

Conviction Rate Was A Mere 31%

Only 15.3% of all cases relating to sexual offences against children in 2013 saw completion of trials in that year and the conviction rate for such crimes was a low 31.5%, latest figures released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reveal.

Nearly 85% cases of child rape continue to be pending in various courts across India, according to the report.

Extreme reluctance of parents to bring their victimized children to courts, inability to ensure their anonymity and conflicting testimonies by kids scarred by assault are some of the primary reasons why sex crime cases against children tend to linger on.

But the biggest reason according to experts, including lawyers, activists and child counsellors is the tendency of the government to enact special laws for which it is unable to allocate required resources to enable implementation by the judiciary .

For instance, despite bringing in a “stringent“ law such as Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO), there has been a jump in sex crimes against children. And, most district court complexes across the country are yet to get a dedicated sessions court for POCSO or independent special public prosecutors as envisaged under the Act that came into force in November 2012. Section 28 of the Act makes it mandatory for the state government to establish “a court of session to be special court in every district“ while section 32 mandates appointment of “special public prosecutors“.

Child rights lawyer Anant Asthana blamed the Centre and states for high pendency of sex crime trials in courts.

“The main reason is that the government doesn't invest in improving the justice delivery system,“ he said. “Supreme Court has said in its report on national court management system that government legislates but doesn't provide financial allocation. If there is no allocation how can magistrates be appointed, courtrooms built and prosecutors recruited?“

2016: pending cases

Pending cases of child abuse, state-wise- 2016
From: Dhananjay Mahapatra, April 21, 2018: The Times of India

See graphic:

Pending cases of child abuse, state-wise- 2016

2017, Nov – 2018. April/ UP

Arvind Chauhan | TNN | Apr 17, 2018| 7-year-old raped and murdered during wedding ceremony in Etah


2017

On November 26, a seven-year-old girl was raped and murdered by her father in Etmadpur area of Agra district.

2018

On February 2 in Shikohabad (Firozabad district), a seven-year-old boy was murdered after been sodomised by a 20-year-old youth, who was a neighbour of the victim.

On February 14, a 16-year-old dalit girl was allegedly gang raped in Nagla Ajab village under Pachokara police jurisdiction of Firozabad district.

On February 24, a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a 23-year-old neighbour in Delhi gate police jurisdiction in Aligarh.

March 3 A 14 year-old girl was allegedly raped and burnt to death by her 17 year-old neighbour in Malahpur village of Aligarh.

On March 17, a third-year-old law student of an Agra college raped and murdered an eight-year-old girl. He left her body at a college ground in Agra.

April 11, in Etah, a dalit girl charged a man with allegedly raping her after lacing her food with sedatives.

17 April: A seven-year-old girl was allegedly raped and murdered in Etah district during a wedding ceremony by a youth who was hired to set up the tent for the occasion.

The incident took place in Sitalpur village, two km away from Kotwali Nagar police station early Tuesday morning. The victim’s body was found abandoned at an under-construction home, close to the wedding venue. Following the incident, the accused identified as Sonu Jatav fled, but was later apprehended by the police.

According to sources, the victim, a resident of Sitalpur, along with her parents had come to attend the wedding ceremony of a local journalist’s sister. The girl went missing during the garland exchange ceremony, even as her parents kept searching for her whereabouts. “Later at around 1:30 am, the unconscious girl was found in a semi-naked condition, with strangulation marks on her neck. Her abdomen also had blood stains,” the source said.

The accused was arrested. Based on the written complaint of the victim’s family, the accused Sonu has been booked under IPC section 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and POCSO act.”

2018

Delhi: POCSO offences almost double

Sidharth Bhardwaj, Sex crimes against kids in city doubled in ’18, January 14, 2019: The Times of India

The national capital reported a doubling of cases registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) in 2018 compared with the previous year. Police attribute the trend to rising awareness among people.

According to Delhi Police data, 165 cases were reported till November 30 last year, compared with 88 in 2017.

The Act deals with sexual abuse, harassment and pornography against minors.

Out of the 165 cases, the police claimed to have “worked out”, or initiated action, in 140 cases and arrested 144 accused, according to the data. Ninety-five people were arrested and action taken in 86 of the 88 cases in 2017.

While 80 cases in 2018 were pending trial, investigations in 82 such incidents were yet to conclude.

In 2017, 77 cases were awaiting trial, while 35 were still being probed as of the end of the year, according to data. As in 2017, the police issued challans to 80 accused in 2018.

According to officers, the rise in number of cases is mainly due to increase in public awareness.

Last year, more Delhiites, especially the poor, came forward and reported such crimes against children to the police.


‘Offenders are known to victims in 90% of cases’

There’s been a steady rise in the numbers of cases since 2012, since the Act was established, they added.

In almost 90% of the cases, offenders are known to the victims, making it more difficult for them to approach the cops, according to the police. However, such offenders, cops claimed, were arrested soon after the police were informed.

Apart from family members of victims, hospital staff have also helped the police in taking action. For example, acting on the information given by hospital personnel, a 19-year-old was arrested when his cousin sister was admitted for delivery in Najafragh in December last year. During counselling, the girl said she had been raped by her cousin brother since the last four years, senior officers said.

Convictions under POCSO Act

2015-18, Delhi: zero convictions

Police admit no conviction managed under POCSO Act in last four years, February 6, 2019: The Times of India

Infamous POCSO cases in Delhi, 2015-18, and the status of POCSO cases reported
From: Police admit no conviction managed under POCSO Act in last four years, February 6, 2019: The Times of India

It was supposed to expedite the process of dealing with crimes against minors, but Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act — which came into force in 2012 — doesn’t seem to have changed things much on the ground. At least the data indicates so. In the past four years, Delhi Police has not managed to secure a single conviction under POCSO despite the number of cases having been on the rise.

According to Delhi Police’s reply to a Rajya Sabha questionnaire, 414 FIRs were registered between 2015 and 2018 and challans were filed in 270 cases. While convictions remained zero, the number of cases pending trial over four years stood at 268. Two FIRs lodged in 2015 and 2017 were cancelled. The data of 2018 was available till November 30.

A senior police officer said that there was no delay on their part and investigations were wound up within the stipulated time and accused arrested in most cases.

The data shows that 77 people were arrested in 2015, 96 in 2016, 95 in 2017 and 144 in 2018. While there was “pending investigation” in 17 cases in 2015, the figure was 26 in 2016, 35 in 2017 and 82 in 2018. In the past four years, seven cases have remained “untraced”.

Though police didn’t give an official comment on the reasons for the delay, sources said that the pendency of cases and the lengthy legal process were reasons for the cases dragging on for four years. In many cases, witnesses turned hostile as the accused was known to the family.

Police, however, seem hopeful that things will get better with the recent amendments to POCSO Act. The amendments state that investigation as well as trial in all rape cases should be completed within two months. All appeals for registration of POCSO case should be disposed within six months.

“Now, there is no provision for anticipatory bail for a person accused of rape or gang rape of a girl aged below 16. Before deciding on his bail application, the court has to give a notice of 15 days to the public prosecutor and the representative of the survivor,” an officer explained. The amendments also have a provision of death penalty for a person charged with rape of a girl aged below 12.

Female genital mutilation

A penal offence under IPC, POCSO Act

Dhananjay Mahapatra, Female genital mutilation already a crime under IPC, Centre tells apex court, April 21, 2018: The Times of India


The Centre told the Supreme Court that female genital mutilation (FGM), prevalent among the Dawoodi Bohra community in India, is a penal offence under the IPC and the POCSO Act.

Responding to a PIL by advocate and social activist Sunita Tiwari seeking a ban on on this practice and making it a cognisable offence warranting arrest, the Centre told a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, “FGM is already a penal offence under several provisions of IPC and POCSO Act and these sections could be invoked to prosecute those who indulge in FGM.”

Even while holding that FGM was a punishable offence, the ministry of women and child development pleaded with the SC to make the ministries of home affairs and external affairs parties to this petition for effective redressal of issues highlighted by the petitioner.

Judiciary

Protect identity in child rape: HC

The Times of India

Apr 03 2015

The Delhi high court expressed concern over identity of child survivors of sexual offences being disclosed. HC has directed trial courts and hospitals to ensure that guidelines laid down by it are scrupulously followed in all cases relating to children.The court said it is the duty of the hospital where a child is admitted for treatment to ensure that no details of the survivor are divulged.

Abench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said the norms must be adhered to since it deals with keeping the identity of the child confidential unless permitted by the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) or Child Welfare Committee (CWC).The guidelines, prepared by a committee set up by the high court, also provide for creation of probe panels in courts and hospitals in case of such lapses.

In its latest directive, the court said that “the guidelines framed by the committee appointed by this court and as approved by this court should be implemented with immediate effect. The guidelines must be circulated in all courts and hospitals of the national capital, so that they are implemented.“

The bench said that this should be done before July 15.

The court's direction came after it was informed that the guidelines were not being implemented, as authorities were found to be disclosing the name and identity of the children in need of care and protection.

The court was hearing a petition, filed by lawyer Anant Asthana, questioning the disclosure of identity of a 15-year-old girl who had brought a two-year-old baby to AIIMS in January 2012.

The child was admitted with severe head injury , both arms broken, bite marks all over her body and her cheeks branded with hot iron.

Paedophilia

Paedophilia in Delhi, 2013-17

Delhi no stranger to paedophiles, but records show criminals repeat offence, Sep 6, 2017: The Times of India


Murray Dennis Ward is not Delhi first encounter with a paedophile.At least three others were apprehended in the past two years. All of them targeted children from lower economic classes. But they share certain characteristics that could flag them as dangerous for society .

According to studies, more than half of sex offenders repeat their crime. Mental health expert Rajat Mitra, who has studied sex offenders lodged in Tihar Jail, said that 58% of the men jailed for rape admitted that it wasn't their first time. Experts say many are predisposed to such crimes. Care should, therefore, be taken to notice the red flags. Take the case of Sunil Rastogi, caught in east Delhi earlier this year. He had earlier been released from a UP ja il for good behaviour while serving out a sentence for raping a minor. Out of jail, he sexually assaulted another nine-year-old girl. The law permitted Rastogi to seek a bail from the police station.

Ramesh Kumar, a labourer arrested in outer Delhi last year for raping and killing 30 children, claimed that he had first committed a sexual crime against a neighbour's child.When the child did not report the matter to the parents, Kumar became bolder. Later whenever he faced resistance from his other victims, he beat them or strangled them after every sexual act.

Many of those arrested for paedophilia are released within months of their arrest. Police and legal experts opined that a registry of offenders should be made and those on the list made to regular report to the police. This, they felt, could be a strong de terrence. Many countries have such databases that law enforcers regularly consult.

Delhi Police does publish a list of sex offenders on its website. This “name and shame“ mechanism has been around since 2013. Details of 700 people convicted of sexual crimes between 1983 and 2017 have been uploaded by the Crime Branch so far. “We upload the names, pictures and conviction details related to three types of offences: rape, molestation and outraging a woman's modesty ,“ a police officer said.

This initiative was in line with the Justice Verma Commission's recommendations on women's safety and Union home ministry directives.The registry in available on http:www.delhipolice.nic.in under the `Useful links' tab under the head of “sexual harassment“. Most crime experts think that the scope of the registry has to be broadened. The central government, it is learnt, is working on a national registry of sexual offenders. It will come into being once all police stations are connected to a single network.

Pocso and the society

Marriages helping secure acquittals in Pocso cases

Ambika Pandit, Marriages helping secure acquittals in Pocso cases?, October 14, 2018: The Times of India


Stir Debate On Review Of Age Of Consent

In as many as 90 cases registered under Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act over five years across district courts in Kerala, the reason for acquittal lay in the fact that the accused married the survivor and the latter testified to the same. At least three of these survivors who married the accused were just 15- years- old at the time of occurrence of the offence and three others were even younger. In around 68 cases, the survivor was in the age group of 16-17 years at the time of the occurrence of the offence.

At a consultation organised by voluntary organisation “Independent Thought” in the capital on combating child marriage and associated challenges under various laws, advocate Soumya Bhaumik presented the Kerala data as a case study based on a scrutiny of district court judgments.

“It has come out that one of the major reason for acquittal has been due to the fact that accused person has married the victim girl after the registration of the offence. Half of the victim girls were of the age group of 17 years. Figures also show that those who were below 15 at the time of offence have also married the accused. This projects a worrisome scenario as it is possible that they may have married as minors and that is a violation of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006,” Bhaumik pointed. “The other concern is that after the registration of crime there is considerable delay in the commencement of trial, and it is in this intervening period that marriages have happened (alleged accused have been released on bail),” he added.

Sharing case studies, Bhaumik pointed that “It is recorded in one of the judgment that accused married the victim girl after she attained majority and they have children also. In another case, accused who happened to be victim girl’s stepbrother is now husband of the survivor.” He added that all these cases show there is need to carry out follow-up on these cases to establish the couples are leading a happy married life or there are cases where the accused person who married the survivor has abandoned her.

Another study on the implementation of Pocso in Delhi and Mumbai, steered by HAQ: Centre for Child Rights and the Forum Against Sexual Exploitation of Children (FACSE), shows that many acquittals in Pocso cases have happened as the accused and survivor were established to be in a “romantic relationship.” This data brings back focus on the larger issue of review of the age of consent debate in the context of Pocso as far as consensual sex between minors is concerned.

Based on data collected for the period 2012-15, it came through that out of 386 cases disposed of in Delhi and Mumbai, 92 cases (24%) ended in conviction. More than three-fourths of the disposed cases in Delhi - 286 cases (78%), were acquitals. Most acquittals in Delhi were in cases relating to children aged 16 to 18 years (72 out of 231), whereas in Mumbai, it was in cases of children aged 13 to 15 years (4 out of 8). Maximum acquittals where the accused/offender was ‘known’ to the child are cases of romantic relationship (39%), followed by cases where the accused/offender is a neighbour (25%), and cases where the accused/offender is a relative (19%).

In around 68 cases where the accused married the survivor, the latter was in the age group of 16-17 years at the time of the occurrence of the offence,

Punishment for crimes against children

Death sentence to rapists of children

April 21, 2018: The Times of India’'

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Madhya Pradesh was the first state to pass a bill to award death sentence to rapists of children below 12 years but the Centre has been sitting on it for four months now.

Officials at the secretariat refused to come on record on why the bill is hanging fire, apart from a one-liner that it was pending with the President. While the Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday that it intended to amend POCSO to include death penalty in case of rape of a child younger than 12 years, the MP government has sought an amendment in IPC sections 376 (a) (a) and 376 (b)(a).

The first one is for rape of a child, for which the state government seeks 14 years to life imprisonment or death. The second one is for gangrape, for which it wants 20 years to life in jail or capital punishment. For crimes registered under IPC section 493 (a) — rape through lure of marriage — the state recommends three years’ jail.

Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Friday welcomed Delhi’s decision to amend POCSO and tweeted: “I believe rapists deserve strictest punishment and have no right to live in a civilized society. MP is the first state to introduce death penalty for rape of minor girls. I welcome the decision of the central government to amend POSCO Act to this effect.”

The MP assembly had unanimously passed ‘Dand Vidhi (Madhya Pradesh Sanshodhan) Vidheyak 2017’ bill in December last year.

The Congress supported the bill though it apprehended misuse of the tough law and shared child activists’ concerns that it might drive rapists to kill children to erase evidence.

Child vulnerable districts, state-wise

2010

Child vulnerable districts, state-wise

Himanshi Dhawan TNN

The Times of India, June 18, 2011

25% children run risk of losing parental support

A quarter of India’s children live in extremely vulnerable situations face the risk of losing parental care and support. A child in Orissa, Bihar or Jharkhand is more vulnerable to losing parental care than in any other part of the country.

A new study has found that 62 of the 100 child vulnerable districts in India fall in the country’s poverty belt — east zone — that includes states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal.

The east zone includes 38.28% of the most vulnerable children followed by central zone (32.13%) and west zone (21.63%). The total estimated vulnerable children in India are approximately 11 crore which are 27% of the total child population below 18 years of age.

The estimation of child vulnerable districts and vulnerable children is part of a study by SOS Children’s Villages of India to enable it to target its future interventions in the vulnerable and needy geographic locations. Vulnerable children were defined as the ones most likely to lose parental care and support due to reasons like poverty, social unrest, HIV AIDS, disability and others.

SOS India general secretary Rakesh Jinsi said, “Besides economic reasons, social unrest and the political situation in states in the east zone have impacted child vulnerability. We have also noticed that vulnerability or the lack of parental support and care lessens as the children become older.’’

A large majority of children lose care and protection of parents between 14-15 years either due to abandonment, disease, death or displacement, he added.

The estimation of vulnerable children was done on the basis of census and population projection data. The study also found that districts with the maximum vulnerable child population included Murshidabad in West Bengal, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur in Bihar, Medinipur in Bengal and Nashik in Maharashtra.

The study also noted that while child population was declining in keeping with national population control strategies, the vulnerability of children continued to increase. The share of child population according to present estimates is 41% and is likely to come down to 37.1% in 2021. However, Jinsi said vulnerability among children was rising.

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