Covid Crimes: 13,664 Child abuse cases reported from March to Sept

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A total of 13,244 Child abuse cases have been reported from March 1st to September 18, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

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Revealing these startling figures in a written reply to the members in Rajya Sabha today, the Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani stated that this includes the cases related to child pornography, rape and gang rape complaints. She further revealed that another 420 cases of child sexual abuse have been received by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) between March 1st – August 31st, 2020 via online portals, helplines and other media besides 391 calls have been received by Childline India Foundation (CIF) regarding child sexual cases from March 1st – September 15, 2020.

Since the Police and the Law and Order are State subjects as per Seventh Schedule of the Constitution of India, action in cases of child sex abuse was taken by concerned Law Enforcement Agencies as per the extant provisions of law.

The Central Government has taken several measures to fast track investigations in cases of child sexual abuse. These steps include a mechanism for online reporting of child sex abuse cases, accessibility of reported incidents to concerning Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), improving cyber forensic facilities, training of Law Enforcement Officers/Judges/ Public Prosecutors, spreading awareness etc.

The Government implements a scheme for setting up of 1023 Fast Track Special Courts (FTSCs) for expeditious trial and disposal of cases related to rape and POCSO Act. As on August 26, 2020, there are 597 FTSCs functional out of which 321 are exclusive POCSO courts.

Section 43 of the POCSO Act provides that the Central Government and every State Government shall take all measures to give wide publicity to the provisions of the Act. In accordance with this, the Government has taken various steps from time to time to create awareness of the provisions of the POCSO Act through electronic and print media, consultations, workshops and training programmes with stakeholders concerned.

Various other steps taken include sending messages through telecom service providers, messages through Government’s twitter handle @CyberDost, conducting cyber awareness programmes in different cities, radio spots, jingles on FM Radio, publishing of handbook for Adolescents, Students, and introduction of a chapter on cybersecurity in CBSE syllabus etc.

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCRs), who are mandated to monitor the implementation of the POCSO Act, have developed and circulated information, education and communication (IEC) material on POCSO Act and that is available on www.ncpcr.gov.in, said the Minister.

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