Upto 10 years jail term for child sexual offenders

Last Updated: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 00:11

New Delhi: A pathbreaking Bill dealing
exclusively with sexual offences against children was passed
by the Union Cabinet today providing for a 10 year jail term.

which may even extend to life imprisonment.
The Protection of Children Againat Sexual Offences Bill,
2011, also legalised consensual sex with a person aged between
16-18 years.

The new law will cover all new aspects of sexual offences
against children not covered elsewhere.

The proposed legislation aims at protecting children
against offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment,
pornography and provide for establishment of special courts
for trial of such offences.

The bill provides for treating sexual assault as
"aggravated offence" when it is committed by a person in
position of trust or authority over a child including a
member of the security forces, police officer, public servant,
management or staff of a children`s home, hospital or
educational institution.

As per the draft bill, aggravated penetrative sexual
assault against a child victim may lead to rigorous
imprisonment for not less than 10 years. The bill has
provision to extend the penalty to imprisonment for life,
including fine.

It will be treated as an aggravated offence where the
child victim is below 12 years or has mental or physical
disability or the sexual offence causes grievous hurt or
injury to the child with long term adverse effect on the
child`s mind and body.

The punishment for such an offence would be imprisonment
of upto seven years with fine.

The punishment for penetrative sexual assault has been
proposed to be at least five years in jail and a minimum fine
of Rs 50,000.

Sexual assault also includes fondling the child in an
inappropriate way which will invite a penalty of minimum
three years in jail.

Section seven of the bill provides for "no punishment"
if the consent for sexual act has been obtained with a person
aged between 16 to 18 years.

There is a special provision in the bill preventing
abuse of children for pornographic purpose or possessing
pornographic material involving children.

There will be an obligation on the media, studio and
photographic facilities not to report such cases and failure
to do so will attract punishment.

The media has been barred from reporting the cases
without having complete and authentic information and from
disclosing the indentity of the child.

The National Crime Records Bureau data shows that there
has been a significant increase in cases of sexual offences
against children from 2265 in 2001 to 5749 in 2008.

A study on child abuse conducted by the Women and
Child Development Ministry showed that more than 53 per cent
of children interviewed reported having faced one or more
forms of sexual abuse.

Fifty per cent abusers were persons known to the child
or in a position of trust and responsibility, it said.

PTI



First Published: Friday, March 4, 2011 - 00:11

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