The Cabinet release stated that modification was made to address the need for stringent measures required to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country.

Cabinet approves death penalty for aggravated sexual crimes against childrenRepresentational image
news Child sexual abuse Friday, December 28, 2018 - 17:49

The Centre on Friday approved the proposal for the Amendment to the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to provide the option of stringent punishment, including the death penalty, for sexual crimes against children.

“To discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent Section-4, Section-5 and Section-6 are proposed to be amended to provide the option of stringent punishment, including the death penalty, for committing aggravated penetrative sexual assault crime on a child to protect the children from sexual abuse,” a press release by the government stated.

The Cabinet release stated that modification was made to address the need for stringent measures required to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country.

“The amendment is expected to discourage the trend of child sexual abuse by acting as a deterrent due to strong penal provisions incorporated in the Act. It may protect the interest of vulnerable children in times of distress and ensures their safety and dignity. The amendment aims to establish clarity regarding the aspects of child abuse and punishment thereof,” the govt stated.

The amendment in Section-4, Section-5, Section-6, Section-9, Section-14, Section-15 and Section-42 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is made to address the aspects of child sexual abuse in an appropriate manner.

The amendments are also proposed in Section-9 to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities and disasters and in cases where children are administered, in any way, any hormone or any chemical substance, to attain early sexual maturity for the purpose of penetrative sexual assault.

Section-14 and Section-15 of the POCSO Act, 2012 are also proposed to be amended to address the menace of the child pornography. It is proposed to levy fine for not destroying, deleting or reporting the pornographic material involving a child. The person can be further penalized with jail term or fine or both for transmitting or propagating or administrating such material in any manner except for the purpose of reporting as may be prescribed and for use as evidence in court. Penal provisions have been made more stringent for storing or possessing any pornographic material in any form involving a child for commercial purposes.

The POCSO Act, 2012 protects children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography with due regard for safeguarding the interest and well-being of children. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age and is gender neutral.

The amendment in Section-4, Section-5, Section-6, Section-9, Section-14, Section-15 and Section-42 of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, is made to address the aspects of child sexual abuse in an appropriate manner. The modification is made to address the need for stringent measures required to deter the rising trend of child sex abuse in the country.

However, experts have cautioned that this is unlikely to prevent or even curb the issue and feel that the death penalty is an ‘anti-child measure.’

They state that the death penalty is introduced thinking that the fear of punishment will be a deterrent, but it’s the reverse that may happen. Experts feel that in cases where the accused is close or known to the survivor, the case may not be reported.

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