POCSO or The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was made for the protection of children from offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment and pornography. The act was enacted to make a child-friendly body for trial underneath which the perpetrators could be punished. The POCSO ACT talks about the children below the age of 18 years.
The act also discusses different types of sexual abuse committed against children such as:
- Penetrative Sexual Assault– According to Act a person commits “penetrative sexual assault” if he: (i) penetrates his penis into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a child, or (ii) makes a child do the same, or (iii) inserts any other object into the child’s body, or (iv) applies his mouth to a child’s body parts. The punishment for such offence is imprisonment between seven years to life and a fine.
- Aggravated penetrative sexual assault: In this Act, person included to commit aggravated penetrative sexual assault on a child are police officer, a member of the armed forces, or a public servant. And this case also covers the area where the offender is a relative of the child, or if the assault injures the sexual organs of the child or the child becomes pregnant, among others. Two more grounds are added to it are (i) assault resulting in the death of a child, and (ii) assault committed during a natural calamity, or in any similar situations of violence. And the punishment for it is imprisonment for 10 years to life and fine and bill increase the minimum punishment is for 20 years and the maximum punishment is the death penalty.
- Aggravated sexual assault: The Act, sexual assault includes action where a person touches the vagina, penis, anus or breast of a child with sexual intent without penetration. In this offender is relative and Bill also includes (i) assault committed during a natural calamity, and (ii) administrating or help in administering any hormone or any chemical substance, to a child for the purpose of attaining early sexual maturity.
- Pornographic purposes: The Act makes guilty to the person using a child for pornographic purposes and it also includes pornographic purpose results in sexual assault. For further details read here.
- Storage of pornographic material: the act punishes the offender to store any type of pornographic material with 3 years of imprisonment and fine or both. The bill also includes two more offences for storage of pornographic material of a child. This includes (i) failing to destroy, or delete, or report pornographic material involving a child, and (ii) transmitting, displaying, distributing such material except for the purpose of reporting it.
To make the act more stringent the centre has made some new rules which include mandatory police verification of staff in school and care homes and also included procedures to report sexual abuse material (pornographic).
The increasing sexual abuse and sexual assault against children was much-needed attention of the law. And the law should be made more transparent and role of police in the offences should be more prompt. And the affected children should be given proper care and love so that they do not feel by oneself.