In an indication that there is growing awareness of and refusal to remain silent over child sex abuse, cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), recorded a 67% increase in 2015.
According to recently released Crime in India 2015 report of the NCRB, 8,800 case of rape were registered under the POCSO Act last year. The data also re-iterates an already known truth: in a majority of cases, i.e. 94.8% of cases, the alleged offenders were known to the victims and included family members, relatives, employers and neighbours.
In 3,149 cases, the offender was a neighbour of the child whereas in 2,227 cases, it was the employer. The POCSO Act was passed in 2012.
|Offenders||No of cases|
|Other known persons||2036|
In 459 cases, the offenders were not indentified by the victims.
J Sandhya, advocate and member of the Kerala State Commission for Child Rights, says that in a majority of cases the abuser is someone the child knows.
"Children do not know how to respond or defend themselves when the abuser is a known person as opposed to when it is a stranger," she says.
This is also why, installing CCTV cameras and providing self-defence training to children may not work, as they are directed at strangers, she explains.
"It is a tricky issue. But the government needs to work on other kinds of intervention. And boys need to be educated to treat women as their equals and not view them as sex objects," she adds.
According to the NCRB data, a total of 14,913 cases were registered under the POCSO Act in 2015. These include cases of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and child pornography.
In comparison, 8,904 cases were recorded under the Act during 2014.
Uttar Pradesh is the state with the highest number of cases, i.e. 3,078 cases, registered under POCSO Act in 2015. It is followed by Madhya Pradesh (1,687 cases), Tamil Nadu (1,544 cases), Karnataka (1,480 cases) and Gujarat (1,416 cases).
In major Indian cities, Bengaluru topped the list with the highest number of POCSO cases: 273. This was followed by Ahmedabad (191), Indore (181), Vadodara (139) and Surat (138).