With all newspapers and media channels flashing the news of a four-year-old child who was sexually assaulted in GD Birla school, there yet again looms a cloud of insecurity over the safety of children in India. With such incidents being repeated over and over again, there are grave issues that persist and require pertinent attention.
People of all age groups in our country have been a victim of gruesome crimes at some point in time. What has been more disheartening in this fight is the inexplicable increase in the number of crimes against children. In the recent few years, 49% of children reportedly faced sexual abuse within the school premises. If this humungous percentage of children experiencing abuse wasn’t harrowing enough, there are still a lot such cases that go totally unreported. Thus the reality is that thousands of children attending school are being abused without the knowledge of their parents.
Such statistics do not bode well for children who fail to even recognize the depth of such crimes. Keeping in mind that this case materialized in a highly reputed school in Kolkata, it is a reflection of how badly we have failed as a nation to protect the wellbeing of children aged as small as four. With an inexorable increase in the number of such crimes, parents have to be a lot more vigilant about their children. While it is ridiculous for us to expect toddlers to differentiate between the ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ touch, it is imperative for parents to be informed of their child’s mental and physical health.
While a lot of damage had already been inflicted, the school officials further committed an act violating the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. The act of Pedophilia has been prevalent in our country for a long time; With an aim to diminish and mitigate the crimes against children, the POCSO Act had been brought into action.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012 (POCSO), as agreed by the President of India, aims to offer protection to children (people under the age of 18) from sexual viciousness, in particular, rape, sexual assault and the inclusion of children in pornography. The Act assigns special courts for the arraignment of such sexual violations conducted against kids. The Act delineates all kinds of sexual Acts that are committed against children and mulls over every one of their potential outcomes. The Act additionally includes stringent punishment for those who attempt to sexually abuse children.
The Act is pertinent all through the nation except for the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Challenges faced by this act is bountiful with the victims requiring a lot of special care and effort. The mental trauma that they go through at such a tender age is beyond their comprehension. Since such cases are extremely sensitive, they are usually mishandled by the police due to their inability to progress with such cases.
A WELCOME BILL – MADHYA PRADESH GOVERNMENT
While the entire country is grappling with disruptions caused by this brutal act, the Madhya Pradesh Government has unanimously passed a bill conferring death on those who are found guilty of raping girls aged 12 and below. Amidst the anger and wrath, this is a welcome and much-encouraged step by the Government.
With the passage of this bill, Madhya Pradesh Government has achieved a landmark achievement, being the first one to award death penalty to the convicts. The bill has been forwarded to the President for his assent after which it would be accorded the status of a law. Capital Punishment would be awarded to convicts under section 376 (A) and 376(A, D) that pertains to rape and gang rape respectively.
Being mindful of the condition today, such an Act is absolutely necessary and the all-inclusive nature of the Act makes it more significant. Such steps by the lawmakers should be encouraged and adopted by the entire country. If we wish to provide our children with a safe and sound environment, we need to more mindful of our surroundings. No child in this world deserves to receive such a barbaric treatment and thus it is the duty of all citizens to work towards a safer India.
– Shrishti Vatsa
Content Writer @ Legal Bites