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POCSO Act

  1. 1. Special Law For the first time, a special law has been passed to address the issue of sexual offences against children. Before the passing of this Act, sexual offences were covered under different sections of IPC, and did not provide for all types of sexual offences against children There was also no distinction between an adult and a child victim. The offences have been clearly defined for the first time in law such as the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography
  2. 2. An Overview The Act has come into force with effect from 14th November, 2012 along with the Rules framed thereunder. It is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children From the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. To safeguard the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process. For the proper development of the child in view of his/her protection of the right to privacy and confidentiality
  3. 3. Trial and Special Courts • There are designated Special Courts for the trial of the cases • There are child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences. • The police are cast in the role of child protectors during the investigative process • They also have the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child • It also provides for the Special Court to determine the amount of compensation to be paid to a child • The attempt to commit an offence under the Act has been made liable for punishment
  4. 4. Mandatory Reporting: In line with the best international child protection standards, the Act also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences The Act casts a legal duty upon a person who has the knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence Failing to do so attracts a punishment of six months “imprisonmen”t and/ or a fine. In-camera trial of cases The medical examination of the child should be conducted in the presence of the parent of the child and in case of a girl child by a woman doctor
  5. 5. Procedure for the Reporting of Cases Any person who has an apprehension that an offence of sexual abuse is likely to be committed or knows that the offence has been committed should provide the information to the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or local police The police or the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) should make immediate arrangements to give the child, care and protection They should report the matter to the Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours of recording the complaint Steps should be taken to admit the child into shelter home or to the nearest hospital within twenty-four hours of the report No person shall incur the liability either civil or criminal for reporting the commission of the offence
  6. 6. Failure to report the case Any personal belonging to the media, studio, photographic facility, hotel, lodge or by whatever name called, should provide the information , on coming to know about the object or material known to be sexually exploitative of the child, to the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or local police Failure to report or record the commission of the offence would be punishable with six months imprisonment or fine or with both Sec 21: Any person in-charge of a company or institution or by whatever name called, fails to report, in respect of a subordinate under his control, would be punished with imprisonment with one year and with fine False complaint by a child is not punishable
  7. 7. Stringent Punishments The Act provides for stringent punishment depending upon the gravity of the offence. The punishments range from simple to rigorous imprisonment of varying periods along with the provision of fines too The child is not to be called repeatedly to testify in court A case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported It provides for the Special Court to determine the amount of compensation to be paid to a child No person in any media should disclose the details regarding the identity of the child
  8. 8. The most important provisions of the Act Definition of the Child Definition of different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault and what constitutes to be “aggravated” sexual assault The prescribed punishments under the relevant sections therefor Sexual assault by a group and the relevant punishment The mandatory reporting of the crime The abetment of an offence under the Act would also attract the same punishment as that of the offence committed
  9. 9. Definitions The said Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age “Penetrative Sexual Assault” means when a male person penetrates either his penis or any object or any part of his body or does something to either penetrates into the private parts of the child or when he applies his mouth to the private parts of the child or makes the child to do so either to him or to any other person Sec 5: An offence is treated as “aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault” when the penetration is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority of child such as a member of security forces, police officer, public servant, etc. For ex: by any staff, principal or the management staff of the hospital or any place of custody or care or protection
  10. 10. Definition of Sexual Assault Sec 7: Whoever with the bad intention touches the private parts of a child, be it a male or a female child, or makes the child to do so or does any act with a sexual intent And which involves physical contact without penetration is said to be committing Sexual Assault Punishment being not less than 3 years or may also extend to 5 years with or without fine Sec 9: “Aggravated Sexual Assault” means sexual assault committed by any police officer, armed forces, public servant, manager of a hospital or an institution on a child
  11. 11. Sexual Harassment Sec 11: When any person with a sexual intent utters a word or makes any sound or gesture or displays or exposes any part of the body, with an intention that the child would hear the sound or sees the part of the body is said to commit the offence of Sexual Harassment Even showing of any porn film with any sexual intention too is an offence Using a child for pornographic purposes is also an offence punishable under the Act Sec 16: Instigation or facilitation or by wilful misrepresentation or by wilful concealment of a material fact, of a child to do an act with a sexual intention is also the abetment of the offence of sexual
  12. 12. The Guiding Principles at the Pre-Trial and Trial Stages Right to life and survival The best interests of the child The right to be treated with dignity and compassion The right to be protected from discrimination The right to special preventive measures The right to be informed The right to be heard and to express views and concerns The right to effective assistance, privacy, safety and compensation
  13. 13. Special Guidelines on Interviewing a Child Regarding the details of the assault, including the time and place, frequency, description of clothing worn and so on. Interview to be should conducted by a trained professional The interviews are forensic rather than therapeutic interviews thereby for the purposes of being sensitive, unbiased, and truth-seeking The purpose of the interview would be to support accurate and fair decision-making in the criminal justice
  14. 14. Reasons for interviewing the child To get a picture of the child's physical and emotional state To establish whether the child needs urgent medical attention To get a picture of the child's relationship with their parents or family now the circumstances leading to the concern To find out who the child trusts To assure the child that he/she is now safe and would be cared for
  15. 15. Punishments Penetrative Sexual Assault (Sec 3) – Not less than seven years which may extend to imprisonment for life, and fine (Sec 4) Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault (Sec 5) –­ Not less than ten years which may extend to imprisonment for life, and fine(Sec 6) Sexual Assault (Sec 7) – Not less than three years which may extend to five years, and fine (Sec 8) Aggravated Sexual Assault (Sec 9) – Not less than five years which may extend to seven years, and fine (Sec 10) Sexual Harassment of the Child (Sec 11) – Three years and fine (Sec 12) Use of Child for Pornographic Purposes (Sec 13) – Five years and fine and in the event of subsequent conviction, seven
  16. 16. Thank You

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