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This article is written by Ilashri Gaur, pursuing B.A. LLB. (Hons.) from Teerthanker Mahaveer University. This is a detailed article which deals with all about the Child Abuse and Pornography along with the laws concerning the same.

Introduction

In India, the problems like child abuse and pornography are casually taken as there are various laws regarding this but even though it is happening. This article tells that what could be done to prevent child abuse and pornography and also discuss where child abuse is commonly done and what are the impacts such things are creating.

Before dealing with all these aspects it is necessary to understand these terms. “Child Abuse” and “Pornography”. ‘Child Abuse’ means when there is a physical, psychological, and sexual maltreatment of children mostly by the parents or by their permanent housemaid or even it could be someone else which results in the harm to the children. This can happen anywhere either in-home or in school, or in any organisation. On the other hand ‘Pornography’ means a portrayal of sexual subject matter for the exclusive purpose of sexual arousal. There are different ways of media like magazines, animation, videos, films, etc to indulge in such activities.

If we talk about the number in India then according to the 2018 report, 109 children were seen to be sexually abused every day. According to the data of the National Crime Record Bureau, there was a jump of 22% from 2017, and the highlights of pornography in India has increased even more in the lockdown. There is a 95% spike in traffic to adult sites during the 3-week lockdown. According to the given data, there is a jump of 20% in consuming porn content from even before.

Child abuse

Not taking Child Abuse seriously can lead to a very bad impact on the Child as well as the society, as Firstly, if the child indulges in such things deep down it creates big consequences like rape and Secondly, the person who is committing the offence of child abuse will increase the chances of such offences if he does not get punishment regarding the same, as that person gets the motivation to commit the same thing with others also. So, whenever anyone comes across or feels such things happening to anyone or to themselves they must share such instances with others.

Types of child abuse

There are different types of Child Abuse. In 2006 the World Health Organisation put forth four distinguished types of child abuse and those are:

  • Physical abuse: Physical Abuse is intentional harm caused to a child by bodily contact. It is a physical injury which is forced upon the child with a bad or cruel intention. To find that a child has been physically abused there are various symptoms like bruises, burns, broken or fractured bones or scalds and if the child is scared of someone.
  • Sexual abuse: Sexual Abuse means when an adult person abuse a child from sexual activities or we can say the participation of any person on to the minor in context to the sexual act. It happens in a different way either by direct physical contact or by displaying pornography to the child. It has a very bad impact like guilt, self-blame, nightmares, etc. 
  • Emotional or psychological abuse: Psychological Abuse is considered as harmful as physical and sexual abuse. It simply means an act which can be done by the parents or by the other person that could cause the child to have a serious behavioural, emotional or mental disorder.
  • Neglect: Only fulfilling the basic necessity of the children is not enough as it requires time and care. But, because of neglecting parents, children suffer from child abuse. It can cause a delay in physical and psychological growth of the child.

Effects of child abuse

The child abuse resulting in the adverse effect to the child mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. there is not a right or wrong way for a child to manage the effects of the abuse and neglect they have suffered.

The effects which a child face by physical abuse or neglect are:

  • Weakened brain development
  • Head trauma
  • Burn marks
  • Sprains or broken bones
  • Difficulty in walking and sitting
  • Torn, stained, or bloody clothing
  • Pain or itching in the genital area
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Poor physical health
  • Poor hygiene

The effects which a child face by emotional abuse or sexual abuse are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in making and maintaining the relations with other
  • Experiences flashback
  • Persistent fear
  • Try to live in isolation
  • Sometimes it causes such an effect to a child that he/she try to self-harm themselves
  • Try to avoid going to school or conserve themself more in home

Child abuse rate in India

It has been seen that the Indian families take care of their child with the utmost care and concern but no one ever considers the possibility of child abuse happening even at home. No one ever considers the probability of sexual, physical or mental child abuse being caused by the most senior member of the family within the walls of the house. It has been seen that every second a child is reporting for emotional abuse it was discussed in the Aamir Khan show Satyamev Jayate.

There are also some common problems or we can say that it is believed that there is a need to take care of daughters but no need to take care of boys because they can take care of themselves. But, nowadays as noticed there are many rape cases that occurred every day because of the lack of monitoring of boys. As seen if a child faces child abuse at a young age and it continues then the child gets habitual and in his adult age commits crimes such as rape. The UNICEF report says that 69% of the children are suffering from physical abuse in their family and in a 13 sample state it was seen that 54.68% were boys. And there is an equal report of boys and girls in emotional abuse.

According to the NCRB report, 32,608 cases were reported in 2017 while 39,827 cases were reported in 2018 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO). If we talk about the overall crime it has increased over six times from 2008 to 2018, in number it is 22,500 from 2008 to 1,41,764 cases in 2018.

Laws concerning child abuse

Children have the right to be protected from exploitative activities that have happened to them or that we have discussed above. You can start it with the following steps like:

  1. Inform the police or child helpline.
  2. Should get proper knowledge of the law regarding that.
  3. Mobilise community support.
  4. Should provide counselling to the child and must take legal action against that person.

Legal provisions for the protection of children 

International Conventions and Declarations

In 1992, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) was approved by India. In 2005, the Government of India accepted the Protocols to the United Nation- Committee on the Rights of the Child, addressing the participation of children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prosecution, child pornography. India has also signed the International Conventions on Civil and Political Rights and also on economic, social, and cultural rights. It has also signed an agreement to the CRC which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 prescribing standards that have to be followed by all the State parties in capturing the best interest of the child. It gives the outlines of the Fundamental rights of children and Discrimination against women which is applicable to girls under the age of 18 years and the SAARC Convention on Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prosecution. 

Constitution of India, 1949

The Constitution of India has a number of provisions regarding the protection and the welfare of children. It has authorized the legislature to make special laws and policies to safeguard the rights of the children under Article 14, Article 15 and its clause (3), Article 19(1)(a), Article 21, Article 23, Article 24, Article 39(e) and (f) of the Indian Constitution which includes the protection, safety, security and the well being of the children.

National policies for children

There are various national policies that have been formulated for the rights of a child and to maintain the status of children in society.

  • National Policy for Children, 1974
  • National Policy on Education, 1986
  • National policy on Child Labour, 1987
  • National Nutrition Policy, 1993
  • Report of the Committee on the Child Prostitution and Children of Prostitutes
  • National Plan of Action for Children, 2005
  • Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, 1998

The Indian Penal Code, 1860

The Indian Penal Code provides various provisions for the protection of children, especially from child abuse. Section 317 of IPC provides the exposure and abandonment of the child under the age of 12 years it says that crime against children by the parents or others to expose or to leave them with the intention of abandonment.

The Juvenile Justice Care and Protection of Children Act, 2000

The Juvenile Justice Act provides for proper care and protection of the children whenever there are any children who need special treatment and development the Juvenile Justice care provides the same. There are particular Sections which provide protection against child abuse and those are Section 23, Section 24 and Section 26. Section 23 says that whosoever will commit cruelty to a child or juvenile will be punished with the imprisonment of six months and a fine or it can be both under the Juvenile Justice Act. Section 24 says that whosoever will use a juvenile child for begging will be punished for the imprisonment for a term of one year and shall be also liable to a fine. Section 26 says that whosoever apparently procures a child for the purpose of any hazardous employment then he/she will be punished for the imprisonment of the term which may extend to three years and also be liable for fine.

The Immoral Traffic Act, 1956

This Act deals with the offences related to sexual exploitation of the children for commercial purposes and those who commit such offences with the child will give penalties regarding the same.

Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012

This Act provides the legal provisions for the protection of children from sexual child abuse and exploitation. This Act defines that a child who is below the age of 18 years gets protection from the offences of sexual assaults, sexual harassment and pornography. The Act provides rigid punishments which have been graded as per the gravity of the offences and also a fine which is decided by the court.

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Pornography

Nowadays pornography is very popular among the youth, especially in the pandemic situation, the viewers of pornography sites have increased rapidly. Pornography means providing sexual matter through different medium. In India, it is available in different forms like printed magazines but it is mainly consumed through the internet. This consumption is increasing with the increase in smartphones and internet facilities.

Types of pornography

There are different types of pornography with subgenres. Pornography even consists of child pornography with various sexual activities, sometimes it is even without their permission that they are forced to do such things. The types of pornography are: group, teen, below the age of 18 pornography and many more.

Effects of pornography

There are various effects of pornography with multiple outcomes. Such things cause effects in the form of rape, domestic violence, sexual dysfunction, difficulties in sexual relationships and sexual child abuse. And, some of the researchers even say that such things can be addictive.

Laws concerning pornography

As in India, child pornography has been banned by the Supreme Court. Government has banned many websites of pornographic content. Under the POCSO Act, there are various punishments given for the same.

  • Section 13 of the POCSO Act says that whosoever will use a child in the form of media for the purpose of sexual gratification will be punished under this section.
  • Section 14 of the POCSO Act says that whosoever use a child for the pornographic purposes will be punished for not less than five years and in the event of subsequent conviction of seven-year and a fine.
  • Use of child for pornographic purposes resulting in penetrative sexual assault will be punished not less than 10 years and in case of a child below 16 years will get punishment with an imprisonment term of not less than 20 years.
  • The children who are being used for the purposes resulting in aggravated penetrative sexual assault will be punished for not less than 20 years.
  •  Section 15 of the POSCO Act says that whosoever stores or possess pornographic material in any form involving a child but fails to delete or destroy with the intention to share or transmit child pornography will be punished with a fine of not less than Rupees 5,000 and in the second event of a subsequent offence, fine not less than Rupees 10,000 and with the imprisonment of either up to three years or with both.

Conclusion

In India problems relating to child abuse and pornography are common but there are various provisions made to protect from this but only providing these laws not going to work but people should take strict action because in most of the cases people used to ignore such problems but it can cause drastic effect in future so to avoid such problems whenever you find such things take strict action against it. The government also should make more strict provisions regarding the same.


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