The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 was enacted by the Government of India to provide an extremely strong legal framework for the protection of children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process, rehabilitation of such children , child friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence, investigation and speedy trial of offences through designated Special Courts. The law not only guarantees punishment for the perpetrators but also guarantees compensation to the victims
1) POCSO HAND BOOK
2) RECOMMENDATIONS – STAKE HOLDERS STATE LEVEL CONSULTATIONS
4) RECOMMENDATION FOR THE IMPROVEMENT OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN’S HOMES
1. What is the definition of ‘child’ under the POCSO Act?
The term ‘child’ has been defined to mean “any person below the age of eighteen years”.
2. Why was the POCSO Act enacted?
The POCSO Act was enacted to protect children from offences such as sexual assault, sexual harassment and child pornography and to provide a child-friendly system for the trial of these offences.
3. As per the POCSO Act is it mandatory to report POCSO cases immediately?
Yes, In case one fails to do so, he/she may face a hefty fine or imprisonment for 6 months.
4. To whom should an offence under the POCSO Act be reported to?
Any person who has apprehension that an offence under this act it is likely to be committed or has knowledge that such an offence has been committed he must be reported such information to the local police or the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU).
5. What immediate steps must the SJPU/ local police take upon receiving a report of a sexual offence against a child?
Accordance to the POCSO Act, when the SJPU or police receive information relating to an offence that has been or is likely to be committed, they should take the following steps in child friendly atmosphere.
- Record the Complaint.
- Assess whether the child is in need of care and protection.·
- Facilitate Emergency Medical Care.
- Facilitate Medical Examination.
- Facilitate Recording of Statement by Magistrate.
- Report to the Special Court and Child Welfare Committee.
- Provide information to the informant and victim.
6. What are the services available to child victims of sexual offences under the POCSO Act?
The POCSO Act offers several services and substantive reliefs to a child victim. They are Emergency medical care, Care and protection, free legal aid, Compensation, Speedy trail and punishment for offenders who commit sexual offences against children.
7. What is meant by a ‘support person’?
A person who assists a child during the investigation and trial of sexual offences is known as a ‘support person’. She/ he shall be appointed by CWC and he should be requested by the child and her/ his parents/guardian/person. The role of a support person can be discharged by an individual working in the field of child rights or child protection, or an official of a Children’s home or Shelter home, or a person employed by the DCPU.
8. What procedures must be followed if a child commits a sexual offence?
If a sexual offence is committed by a child, the case will be heard by the Juvenile Justice Board as per procedures laid down under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The child must be apprehended by the police and then transferred to the Observation Home attached to the Juvenile Justice Board, if such child is not released on bail by the police. The child cannot be detained in the police station or jail. Further, the child is entitled to bail irrespective of whether the offence is bailable or not. Bail should be granted unless the Juvenile Justice Board believes that the release of the child on bail is likely to bring her/him in contact with a criminal or expose her/him to moral, physical or psychological danger or if her/his release will causing defeat the ends of justice.
9. Under the POCSO Act there are any safeguards available for a person reporting an offence?
Yes, the Act specifically states that a person will not incur civil( paying fine) or criminal liability (sentence to jail)for giving information about the commission of a sexual offence or the likelihood of commission of an offence in good faith.
10. Does the Act place any special obligations upon a person in-charge of a company or an institution to report the offence that may have been committed?
Yes, the Act requires the person in-charge of a company or institution to report the offence that may have been committed by a subordinate under his/her control. For instance, if the Director of a children’s home is aware that a child has been sexually abused by the warden, he/she must report the matter to the police. Failure to do so is punishable with imprisonment for a maximum term of 6 months and fine.
11. Who must pay compensation to a child victim under the POCSO Act?
The State Government must pay the compensation to the child from the Victim Compensation Fund released by Kerala legal services Authority or any other funds/schemes established for the purpose of compensating and rehabilitating victims. 12. What is the Government institution, which provides free Legal aid to POCSO Survivor? Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KELSA) is providing free Legal aid to POCSO Survivors as well as poor, weak and marginalized sections of the society.