What is in POCSO Act 2012
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012 is applicable to the whole of India. The POCSO Act 2012 defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years and provides protection to all children under the age of 18 years from sexual abuse.
This act suggests that any person, who has an apprehension that an offence is likely to be committed or has knowledge that an offence has been committed, has a mandatory obligation to report the matter i.e. media personnel, staff of hotel/ lodges, hospitals, clubs, studios, or photographic facilities.
Failure to report attracts punishment with imprisonment of up to six months or fine or both. It is now mandatory for police to register an FIR in all cases of child abuse. A child's statement can be recorded even at the child's residence or a place of his choice and should be preferably done by a female police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector.
The rules laid down in this act also had defined a criteria of awarding the compensations by the special court that includes loss of educational and employment opportunities along with disability, disease or pregnancy as the consequence of the abuse. This compensation would be awarded at the interim stage as well as after the trial ends.
Some of the child-friendly procedures which are envisaged under the POCSO Act are as follows:-
- At night no child to be detained in the police station
- The statement of the child to be recorded as spoken by the child
- Frequent breaks for the child during trial
- Child not to be called repeatedly to testify
The POCSO Act of 2012 looks into a support system for children through a friendly atmosphere in the criminal justice system with the existing machinery ie the CWC and the commission. The positive aspect is the appointment of the support person for the child who would assist during investigation, pretrial, trial and post trial.