Child sexual abuse: More than half of the victims are boys
There is a common misconception that children from well-to-do families are immune to sexual abuse. Gender, education and income do not provide any security against this crime. At some point of time, one out of every two children in India faces sexual exploitation – and more than half of the victims are boys, say several studies.
In majority of the cases, the perpetrator is known to the child. Identifying this male abuser, who may be close to the family or a part of the family, is often a hard task.
Alerting children against strangers is easy, but how to make them watch out for abusers within the family is a big task. A study conducted by the ministry of women and child development in 2007 revealed that around 85% of abusers were known to the victims.
Another startling revelation made by the report was that only 25% of the victims reported their abuse to anyone and cops were informed in only 3% of the cases.
The union government has framed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, to protect children from sexual abuse.
The Act covers all types of sexual abuse, including harassment, penetrative or non-penetrative sexual abuse and pornography.
“The Act has incorporated stringent punishment for child abusers segregated by the gravity of the offence. It provides for simple to rigorous imprisonment for varying periods and also a fine, which will be decided by the court,” said IB Singh, senior advocate, Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court.
The Act also provides for the establishment of special courts for trial of offences under the Act and also provides for completion of trial within a year.
The data collected by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) shows there has been increase in cases of sexual offences against children. This is corroborated by the ‘Study on Child Abuse: India 2007’ conducted by the ministry of women and child development.