Every 15 minutes, a child in India is sexually abused
POCSO Act came into force in 2012 to protect the children under 18 years of age against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography.
India registered a total of 36,022 cases in 2016 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. A staggering 55 per cent (19,920) of them were cases of child rape.
Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani, while responding to a question in the Lok Sabha, quoted NCRB figures and said that the number of cases registered increased by 0.2 per cent in 2015 over 2014, and by 4.4 per cent in 2016 over 2015.
Earlier this month, a special court convicted six of the eight accused in the gang rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl at Kathua in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018.
While a total of 89,423 crimes against children under Indian Penal Code, local and special laws were reported across India in 2014, the figure jumped to 94,172 in 2015 and reached 1.06 lakh in 2016.
Around 1,700 children were murdered in 2016, while the number of infanticide and foeticide stood at 93 and 144, respectively. More than 800 children were abandoned.
According to a 2007 study conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, 53 per cent of children surveyed said they had been subjected to some form of sexual abuse. Most of the abusers are known to the victims, including their parents and relatives.
A 2014 UNICEF study, 'Hidden in Plain Sight', estimates that around 120 million girls under the age of 20—about 1 in 10—have been subjected to forced sexual intercourse or other forced sexual acts at some point of their lives.
POCSO came into force in 2012 to protect the children under 18 years of age against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography.
It mandates the setting up of special courts for trial of offences, keeping the best interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process.
This is because the closure rate of POCSO cases was just 31 per cent across States and Union Territories in 2016, a slight improvement since 2014, when only 22 per cent of the cases were disposed of.
According to the Lok Sabha reply, Uttar Pradesh had the most number of cases registered in 2016, with 4,954 cases. Maharashtra came a close second with 4,815 cases, followed by Madhya Pradesh with 4,717 cases.