Patna: Believe it or not but 54.35% of children between the age group of 5-12 years in 2007 in Bihar reported of being photographed nude. The National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) stats also suggests that in the same year 22.83% of children among the age group of 13-14 years and 22.83% of the group of 15-18 years were photographed nude.
Speaking on the state consultation on child sexual abuse and the implementation of the Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act 2012) on Saturday at the Bihar Judicial Academy, Vidya Reddy from Tulir, an organisation in Chennai working for the emancipation of sexually abused children, pointed out younger children are more vulnerable towards sexual abuse.
In fact, the NCRB data also suggests that there has been an increase in the number of cases of child sexual violence from around 2,000 in 2001 to 6,371 in 2010. “42% of the Indian population consists of children and among them 29.4% faced abuse,” said Reddy. As per Reddy, in 95% of such cases of child sexual abuse, the perpetrators are those known to the victims.
Bihar United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Chief Yamin Mazumdar, while addressing the inaugural session of the two day conference on Saturday which was jointly organised by UNICEF Bihar, Bihar Judicial Academy and Chankya National Law University said, “According to NCRB a total of 8541 cases of child rape were reported in the country during 2012 as compared to 7,112 in 2011, accounting an increase of 20.1% during the years 2012. Certainly, the percentage increase as an alarming sigh and therefore, an enactment of POCSO Act 2012 is a welcome sign. This is a unique legislation in many ways as it talks about building a multi disciplinary approach to work with the child survivors of sexual abuse.
Patna high court judge Justice Ahsanuddin Amanullah quoting the reports of the ministry of women and child development said that in 2007, 53.22 % of children sampled from across 13 states had faced sexual abuse. Against the popular belief that girl children are the obvious victims of sexual violence, Justice Amanullah said, among these, 52.94% were boys and 47.06 % girls.
Illustrating upon the POCSO Act he said it recognizes every known form of sexual offence against the child. “It ensures that the agencies, collaborators are involved in the process of ensuring justice to the survivors of child abuse. It also involves provision of in- camera proceedings, setting up of special courts and child friendly approach, thereby encouraging children to report such incidences and seek redress,” he said.
Justice V N Sinha, Executive Chairman of Patna high court Legal Services Committee, pointed out the insensitivity of the society towards the sexually abused children. “Those who have been sexually abused are not given the same amount of love and affection that they are normally entitled to and are likely to become a juvenile in conflict with law,” he said. Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari, Chairman, Bihar Judicial Academy highlighted the need to have a patient approach to the analysis of the issue at hand in order to better appreciate the concept, nuances, fallout and deficiencies of the enactment. “The earlier notion that unlawful intercourse will have to be considered outside the scope of the institution of marriage has been abandoned and now even the husband can be prosecuted for the crime of the rape,” said Justice Ansari.