Constitutional Provisions safeguarding Children
|Article 15(3)||Prohibits discrimination against children on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth|
|Article 21A||Provides for free and compulsory education for all children between the ages of 6 and 14 years|
|Article 24||Prohibits the employment of children below the age of 14 years in hazardous occupations|
|Article 39(e)||Directs the state to ensure that children are not abused or forced by economic necessity to enter occupations unsuited to their age or strength|
|Article 45||Directs the state to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years|
|Article 47||Directs the state to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and to improve public health, including the health of children|
|Article 51A (k)||Imposes a fundamental duty on every citizen of India to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women and children|
|Directive Principles of State Policy||Several directive principles, including Articles 39, 39A, 41, 42, and 45, provide for the protection and welfare of children in various aspects, such as health, education, and social security|
Child Abuse in India
Child abuse is a serious issue in India, with various forms of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse being reported. Here are some credible sources that highlight the prevalence of child abuse in India:
National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data: According to the NCRB’s “Crime in India” report for 2019, a total of 105,934 cases of crimes against children were reported in India, including 41,762 cases of sexual offenses. The report also noted that 94.2% of the offenders were known to the victims.
Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) study: In 2007, the MWCD conducted a study on child abuse in India, which found that 53% of the children surveyed reported having experienced one or more forms of sexual abuse. The study also noted that most of the abuse took place in the child’s home, neighborhood, or school.
Save the Children’s “Stolen Childhood” report: In 2020, Save the Children released a report that ranked India 116th out of 176 countries in terms of the extent of child abuse. The report estimated that 15.7 million children in India were subjected to physical abuse, 13.5 million to emotional abuse, and 1.7 million to sexual abuse.
National Survey on Child Abuse: In 2007, the Ministry of Women and Child Development conducted a national survey on child abuse, which found that 53.2% of children in India reported having experienced one or more forms of sexual abuse, including sexual assault and harassment.
Childline India Foundation data: Childline India Foundation, a national NGO that provides support and services to children in distress, reported receiving over 3.5 million calls in 2020, including 45,000 calls related to child abuse. The organization noted that the COVID-19 pandemic had led to an increase in cases of child abuse, particularly domestic violence and online exploitation.
These sources highlight the extent and severity of child abuse in India, and the urgent need for stronger legal and policy measures to prevent and address this issue.
Impacts of Child Abuse
Child abuse can have a range of social, physical, and mental impacts on children, depending on the type and severity of the abuse. Here are some of the most common impacts:
- Social impacts:
- Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships with others
- Isolation and withdrawal from social situations
- Increased risk of substance abuse, delinquency, and criminal behavior
- Difficulty trusting others, particularly adults and authority figures
- Poor academic performance and school attendance
- Physical impacts:
- Physical injuries, such as bruises, cuts, and broken bones
- Delayed physical development
- Chronic health conditions, such as headaches and stomach pain
- Increased risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, later in life
- Heightened risk of self-harm, suicide attempts, and substance abuse
- Mental impacts:
- Anxiety and depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Difficulty regulating emotions and mood swings
- Low self-esteem and self-worth
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Behavioral problems, such as aggression, anger, and impulsivity
The impacts of child abuse can be long-lasting and can have a significant impact on a child’s development and well-being. It is important to provide children who have experienced abuse with appropriate support and treatment to help them recover and heal.
|Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act||This law was enacted in 2012 to protect children from sexual offenses and provide a legal framework for the investigation and prosecution of such cases. It also includes provisions for the protection of child witnesses during legal proceedings.|
|Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS)||This scheme was launched in 2009 to provide a range of services for the protection, care, and support of vulnerable children, including those who have experienced abuse or neglect. It includes measures such as counseling, rehabilitation, and foster care services.|
|National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)||This statutory body was established in 2007 to protect the rights of children in India and ensure their well-being. It has the power to investigate and inquire into complaints related to the violation of child rights, including cases of abuse and exploitation.|
|Childline Services||This national 24/7 helpline service provides support and assistance to children in distress, including those who have experienced abuse or exploitation. It also provides referral services to other support services and organizations.|
|Beti Bachao Beti Padhao||This campaign was launched in 2015 to address the issue of declining sex ratios and promote the education and empowerment of girls. It aims to prevent gender discrimination and violence against girls and promote their well-being and development.|
|National Policy for Children||This policy was last revised in 2013 and provides a framework for the protection, development, and well-being of children in India. It includes measures such as the promotion of child rights, protection from abuse and exploitation, and access to education and healthcare services.|
These government initiatives highlight the importance of protecting children from abuse and ensuring their well-being and development. However, more needs to be done to address the issue of child abuse in India and provide appropriate support and services to children who have experienced abuse.
1. What is the meaning of child abuse?
Child abuse refers to any intentional harm or mistreatment of a child, typically by adults or older individuals, that can lead to physical, emotional, psychological, or sexual harm. Child abuse can take various forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
2. What is the situation of child abuse in India?
Child abuse is a serious issue in India, with reported cases of child abuse occurring across the country. It encompasses a wide range of abuses, including physical, sexual, emotional, and neglectful treatment of children. The government, NGOs, and child protection agencies work to address and combat child abuse through various initiatives and awareness campaigns.
3. What actions can be taken to prevent child abuse?
Preventing child abuse involves a combination of actions, including:
- Awareness and Education: Promoting awareness about child rights and the signs of abuse.
- Strengthening Child Protection Services: Ensuring that agencies and organizations responsible for child protection are well-equipped and accessible.
- Reporting Suspected Abuse: Encouraging individuals to report suspected cases of child abuse to the appropriate authorities.
- Support for Victims: Providing support and counseling services to child abuse survivors.
- Legal Measures: Enforcing child protection laws and prosecuting abusers.
4. What are the child abuse laws in India?
In India, child abuse is addressed through various laws, including:
- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012: This law deals specifically with sexual offenses against children and provides for stringent penalties.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015: This act addresses the rehabilitation and protection of children in need of care and protection.
- The Indian Penal Code (IPC): The IPC contains provisions related to physical and emotional abuse of children.
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