The Department of Home Science organised an Orientation Programme on POCSO Act and its Amendment on 19th and 20th November 2020 in collaboration with NIPCCD, New Delhi. The POCSO Act, 2012 is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. While safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms. That is for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts.
To deal with child sexual abuse cases, the Government has brought in a special law, namely, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. The Act has come into force with effect from 14th November, 2012 along with the Rules framed thereunder.
What are the amendments to the act? It increases the minimum punishment from seven years to ten years. It further adds that if a person commits penetrative sexual assault on a child below the age of 16 years. He will be punishable with imprisonment between 20 years to life. The said Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age, and defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault.
As well as sexual harassment and pornography, and deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill. Or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority of the child. Like a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor. People who deal children for sexual purposes are also punishable under the provisions relating to abetment in the said Act. The said Act prescribes stringent punishment graded as per the gravity of the offence, with a maximum term of rigorous imprisonment for life, and fine.