The government has enacted special law, namely, THE PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FORM SEXUAL OFFENCE ACT, 2012 for dealing with child sexual abuse cases and to protect children from such abuse. This act came into force on 14th November 2012 along with the rules given under the act.
It’s a comprehensive law that deals with protecting children from sexual assault, sexual harassment, & pornography.
The court at every stage adopts the child-friendly mechanism for recording evidence and investigation. The special court set up under the act for the speedy trial of the cases.
Special courts, police, child welfare committee, state government and all other authorities, and nongovernmental organization, the entire expert and professional team dealing with the child during the trial and at pre-trial stages are bound to follow these principles.
These principles are as follow:
- RIGHT TO LIFE AND SURVIVAL: every child has a right to live life with dignity and to be protected from hardships, abuse (including physical abuse or mental abuse or emotional abuse), and neglects.
- THE WELFARE OF THE CHILD IS PRIMARY CONSIDERATION
- THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY AND COMPASSION: child victim should be treated very carefully and compassionately by the experts dealing with child during or before the trial.
- THE RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FROM DISCRIMINATION: professionals dealing with the child and their families must be trained to treat them without any discrimination. A child can be competent witness also under this right.
- THE RIGHT TO SPECIAL PREVENTIVE MEASURES: preventive measures taken for the safeguard of the child.
- THE RIGHT TO BE INFORMED: the child victim or witness informed about the legal proceeding and process of court. Some specific information about progress of child, status of offender, etc also provided to child victim.
- THE RIGHT TO BE HEARD AND TO EXPRES VIEWS AND CONCERNS
- THE RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSITANCE: for effective participation in judicial process, the child victim must be provided with the required assistance.
- THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY: by restraining the disclosure of information out of court and by not allowing general public in court room.
- THE RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FORM HARDSHIP DURING THE JUSTICE PROCESS: any stress the child has during judicial process should be minimized.
- THE RIGHT TO SAFETY: Safety measures provided to the child victim during trial and after judicial process.
- THE RIGHT TO COMPENSATION: compensation should be awarded as relief and for rehabilitation.
Under POCSO ACT it’s mandatory to report the sexual offence. If someone after knowing it not informing the police is punishable under the act. Medical examination of the victim should be done with minimal stress. Report of child abuse should be submitted to CWC within 24 hours.
The child victim is not repeatedly called in court because it’s not safe for the child’s mental capacity. In one year from the date of filing the case should be disposed of by the court according to the POCSO act.