A Brief Idea Of The POCSO Act
By Team Legistify / 2017-07-08
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act addresses crimes of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. The Act prescribes five sexual offences against children – penetrative sexual assault, aggravated penetrative sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual harassment, and using a child for pornographic purposes, and prescribes the punishment for these offences.

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The Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) was enacted with the intention of protecting children from all and any kind of sexual exploitation. The laws which were in place pertaining to the sexual offences against the children were very limited in scope and quite practically, the language of the act left out a number of nuances of how these offences occur.

The Act predominantly just filled the legal void in the particular subject that it deals with primarily. The legislature has made a number of amendments in order to make this particular act complete in the sense that they act is now both a substantive as well as a procedural piece of legislature. These changes brought about in the form of amendments were very crucial to meet the ends of justice.

Child sexual abuse is a widespread problem with seriously damaging life-long outcomes. Despite the gravity of the crime and the vulnerability of the victims both society and government skirted the issue the problem remained ill addressed due to deep-rooted cultural norms, social stigma, poor awareness, lack of child rights and inadequate laws. Violence against children is all too often unseen, unheard and underreported.

Sexual offences against children were covered by three sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) not specific to children. The only crimes registered were rape (sexual intercourse without consent—Section 376), outraging the modesty of a woman (unspecified acts- Section 354) and unnatural Section 377). Further, the variations of sexual abuse, harassment and exploitation were not explicitly recognized as crimes and therefore went unpunished.

Salient features of POCSO Act

The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act addresses crimes of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. The Act prescribes five sexual offences against children – penetrative sexual assault, aggravated penetrative sexual assault, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, sexual harassment, and using a child for pornographic purposes, and prescribes the punishment for these offences.

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