“Children are like wet cement. Whatever falls on them makes a solid impression.

Dr. Halm Ginott

Sexual violence against youngsters may be a gross violation of children’s rights. Nonetheless it’s a world reality across all countries and social teams. It will take the shape of regulatory offense, harassment, rape or sexual exploitation in harlotry or porn. It will happen in homes, establishments, schools, workplaces, in travel and business facilities, at intervals communities – each in development and emergency context similarly as in non-emergency contexts in developed countries. 

Moreover, the internet and mobile phones conjointly place youngsters in danger of sexual violence as some adults look to the internet to pursue sexual relationships with youngsters. There’s conjointly a rise within the range and circulation of pictures of kid abuse. Youngsters themselves conjointly send one another sexualized messages or pictures on their mobile phone, which is known as ‘sexting’, which puts them in danger for different abuse.

POCSO ACT (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act), 2012

Pedophilia has continually existed in our country, however recently it’s emerged as a foul, extraordinarily perverse and inhuman sexual trend. The Protection of children from Sexual Offences Act of 2012 (POCSO), as accorded by the President of Asian country, aims to supply protections to youngsters (individuals below the age of 18) from sexual violence, particularly sexual offense, harassment and also the inclusion of kids in porn. The Act additionally stipulates special courts for the legal instrument of such sexual crimes committed against youngsters. The sexual offences elaborated in the Act are punishable crimes termed as ‘sexual assault’, ‘sexual harassment’, ‘afflicted sexual assault’, ‘penetrative sexual assault’, ‘aggravated penetrative sexual assault’ and abusing youngsters in obscene videos. The Act describes intimately all acts of sexual violence concerning youngsters and takes all the chances into thought. The Act additionally takes into thought makes an attempt of sexual violence to youngsters and succor to such violence.  

The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 and Punishments 

The Union Cabinet has cleared a proposal to amend the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to provide for the death penalty for aggravated penetrative sexual assault on children. The Centre has proposed to amend the POCSO Act and make it gender-neutral. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2018 amended relevant Sections of the IPC, Cr.P.C. and also POCSO Act. Some of the features are:

  • The maximum punishment is death penalty. In the cases of gang rape of child under 12, the minimum punishment is life sentence (earlier 20 years) while the maximum is death penalty.
  • In cases of kid aged between twelve and sixteen, the offence of rape is punishable with the minimum sentence of twenty years.
  • If the victim is aged between sixteen and eighteen, the offence of rape is punishable with minimum penalty of 10-year jail term and most is death penalty.
  • Repeat offenders are going to be punished with death.
  • The Bill provides for time-bound investigation in cases of rape of girl child. The investigation into rape of a toddler should be completed within 2 months.
  • The case is to be tried in a special court. The Bill states that any charm against a sentence by the tribunal should be disposed of within six months.

Impact of the Act

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act of 2012 was a welcome step which fulfills the mandatory obligation of India as a signatory to the UN conventions of Rights of the Child. It was an improvement over IPC acts which before its implementations dealt with the cases of Children from Sexual offences.

Merits of the Act

Following are some merits of the said Act:

• A child is innocent and friendly in nature. Therefore, the police should act as a “protector of the child”. 

• They include-the statement of the child to be recorded as spoken by the child, the statement of the child should be recorded by preferably a female officer not below the rank of SI, 

• Child need not be called for enquiry repeatedly, 

• No child to be detained at night by the police. 

• Speedy redressal-formation of special courts, 

• Complete the trial by 1 year,

• Police should file FIR of all cases and should report them to CWC (child welfare committee).

• Assaults include penetrative and non-penetrative assaults (including use of children for pornography).  Identity of the child will not be disclosed unless there is a court order. 

• Medical assistance: The officer should get the child medically examined within 24 hours. The act provides for accommodation and care of the child if the assault is from a family member.

Demerits of the Act

• Custom vs Law- In Kerala, tribal are being arrested under this law for marrying girls below the age of 18. Due to lack of education and due to poverty, they end up in jail under rape charges, even without any formal complaints from the girl or her parents. 

• Recently government has moved to bring marriageable age of girls to 16 years. This could result in loss of protection of girls between the age group of 16 and 18 under this act. 

• The act ignores persons whose” mental age” are below 18 years but their biological age may be above 18.

Sexual violence against children in other Countries

The 2014 United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund study, estimates that around a hundred and twenty million ladies underneath the age of twenty (about one in 10) are subjected to forced sexual activity or different forced sexual acts at some point of their lives. Boys additionally report experiences of sexual violence; however, they are doing therefore to a lesser extent than ladies. Nevertheless, truth magnitude of sexual violence is hidden due to its sensitive and bootleg nature. Most youngsters and families don’t report cases of abuse and exploitation due to stigma, fear, and lack of trust within the authorities. Social tolerance and lack of awareness additionally contribute to under-reporting.

Evidence shows that sexual violence will have serious short- and long physical, psychological and social consequences not just for ladies or boys, however additionally for his or her families and communities. This includes exaggerated risks for unhealthiness, unwanted maternity, psychological distress, stigma, discrimination and difficulties at college.


The Federal Constitutional Act on the Rights of kids (2011) contains eight articles. Out of which five guaranteeing all children the right to protection and a non-violent upbringing. Article one affords each kid the right to protection and care that’s necessary for his/her well-being, development and in thought of his/her own best interest. Article five expressly states that each kid has the correct to a non-violent upbringing, prohibiting penalization, the infliction of mental suffering, statutory offence and different abuses and confirming that each kid has the correct to protection from economic and sexual exploitation. 


The new Constitution came into force in August 2010. Article twenty-nine prohibits any sort of violence from either public or non-public sources. This ban is binding for all State organs and every one person. Article 53.d provides that “every kid has the proper to be protected against abuse, neglect, harmful cultural practices, all types of violence, abuse and penalty, and dangerous or explicatory labor.


The Law on the Rights of the kid 2016 expressly confirms children’s right to be protected against violence, as well as penalty (art. 7.1, unofficial translation): “Children have the proper to be protected against crime, offences or any styles of violence, physical penalization, psychological abuse, neglect and exploitation all told social settings.”; Law on the Rights of the kid (Feb. 5, 2016), Mongolian Legal info Integrated System web site (in Mongolian).


The Swedish legal code contains an in-depth list of articles prohibiting sexual violence against youngsters. Alternative articles prohibiting physical and psychological violence additionally apply once the victims are youngsters, though youngsters aren’t specifically mentioned. the youngsters and oldsters Code were amended in 1979 to incorporate a ban on physical penalization and mortifying treatment of youngsters. Chapter 6, section one of the code highlights that “Children are entitled to worry, security and an honest upbringing. Youngsters are to be treated with respect for his or her person and individuality and should not be subjected to punishment or the other mortifying treatment.” Sverige was the primary country to introduce a selected ban on punishment of youngsters.

Age of majority in countries

Age 14Age 16Age 17Age 18Age 19Age 20Age 21
Armenia GeorgiaScotlandIndonesia (or upon marriage) 
North Korea
AustraliaChina Denmark France Germany EnglandIndia IsraelSwitzerlandSouth KoreaCanadaTaiwan ThailandEgypt MadagascarSwaziland 
United Arab Emirates


Children have the right to be protected from violence, and to rely on the individuals closest to them to protect their best interests and support their healthy development. When these individuals abuse their position of responsibility by subjecting children to violence, the state has an affirmative responsibility to respond and protect. The intimate relationship between children and many perpetrators of violence creates unique challenges, but these are not insurmountable. By learning from successful models, putting in place effective support systems and monitoring mechanisms, and by refusing to tolerate impunity, states can take effective action to reduce violence against children and its devastating effects on families, communities, and society at large.

About the authors

(LEFT IMG)Piyali Bhattacharjee is in her second year of studying BA.LL.B at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. She has worked with Advocates of Bar Council of Punjab and is very enthusiastic about learning and polishing her knowledge. Her research capabilities are top-notch. Her forte rests in History, Sociology, and Constitutional Laws.

(RIGHT IMG)Vikas Deep is a 3rd-year law student from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. He has gained exposure of litigation by working with Advocates in the District Court and High Court. His interest lies in Constitutional and Criminal Laws. He has attended various seminars, workshops to enhance his real-life knowledge which sometimes lacks in books. Since his school days, he has always been interested in law. In the next 5 years, he sees himself handling cases at the high court as well as the district court under the guidance of a Senior Advocate.

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