Addressing Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse is involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she doesn’t fully get is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society. Sexual abuse is any misuse of a child for sexual pleasure or gratification. It is the involvement of children in sexual activities that they do not fully comprehend, that they are unable to give informed consent to and/or that violates societal taboos.

The POCSO Act, 2012 is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. It also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. This Act defines “a child as any person below eighteen years of age”. It defines different forms of sexual abuse, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography and deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority. It provides for Special Courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a child-friendly manner. Hence, the child may have a parent or other trusted person present at the time of testifying further, the child is not to be called repeatedly to testify in court and may testify through video-link rather than in a courtroom.

HAQ start the project of Sexual Abuse with the aim of making holistic justice more accessible and effective, for those who are victims of sexual abuse. Survivors of sexual assault, and their families were provided with psychological counseling as well as other forms of support by HAQ. HAQ takes up cases from other parts of Delhi and cases where boys are victimized. These cases come to us through referrals from the Child Welfare Committees, NGOs and concerned individuals, or sometimes the families of the victims approach HAQ directly. HAQ provided Legal aid and counseling in those cases. HAQ also help to the family to get the Interim and Final compensation. In every case a support person provided by the HAQ. The Support person helps the family and also present during the court testimony with the child and the family too.