Extensive Research On Child Sexual Abuse & Underage Marriages in India

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Abstract 

Evidence shows that sexual violence can have serious short- and long-term physical, psychological and social consequences not only for girls or boys but also for their families and communities. This includes increased risks for illness, unwanted pregnancy, psychological distress, stigma, discrimination, and difficulties at school.

Around 40 million children, less than 14 years old, are assessed to experience the ill effects of mishandling and disregard the world over. India has a huge child populace and numerous children and youth are powerless against abuse, exploitation, and neglect. 

Blog covers, inter alia, child abuse and sexual abuse especially in the premises of child marriage to help the reader understand the phenomenon and forms of child abuse from an educative lens. 

The laws and policies promising respect for child rights, their protection, and well-being have not resulted in much improvement in the lives of millions of Indian children who continue to be deprived of their rights, abused, exploited, and taken away from their families and communities. 

Scant attention and feeble commitment to resolving child protection problems have resulted in poor implementation of these laws and policies due to the vicious circle of traditional barriers which even the laws of the land cannot pass due to inadequate monitoring and evaluation. 

The Author has previously researched the contents of this piece, as part of his genuine concerns, workings, and interests in life, and has chosen to publish this now to help any interested reader form an opinion and undertake necessary further research to dive deep into the issues covered herein. 

This blog piece examines the laws relating to Child rights in India and explores the condition of children under prescribed legislations in India and International Conventions.

This has been provided in the nature of a detailed study and an academic paper, with reference to the abuse of the children who are being married off at a tender age and have to suffer not only in their household but also in society.

Introduction

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.” – Mohandas Gandhi

The issue of child marriage in India and childhood sexual abuse can be comprehended inside the broader and contending procedures of uniformization and pluralization in Hindu law and Indian law. 

Child sexual abuse in India is expanding at a disturbing rate. Children from most of the nation’s populace; are pegged as the future of the nation. They convey with their expectations and dreams to accomplish greatness. Nonetheless, the stark reality remains that 53% of Indian children have been subjected to some form of sexual abuse/abuse both physically and mentally. 

While handling the various issues plaguing society, the well-being and security of children have been side-lined. The law-making body has demonstrated an extraordinary disregard towards making any move to secure the most powerless segment of society. The deficiency of punishment itself was one such occurrence of administrative oversight and thus, children have ended up casualties of sexual abuse and mental torment & torture. 

In 2012, the Parliament passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (“POCSO“) which was hailed as a stride towards the protection of children of our nation.

On any given occasion, child marriage appears to be at the intersection of numerous hypothetical couplings that are central in lawful theory: tradition and modernity, religion and State, ancient and new, indigenous and western, and local and global. The diffusion of child marriages is not a remarkable component of India, but for sure, it is an unmissable and unmistakable adversarial issue in the Indian setting, and it is frequently tended to as a paradigmatic instance of the unyieldingness of customary laws, especially Hindu law, in the present-day social order. 

This piece will concentrate on child marriages in India and also considering particularly child marriage in Hinduism but however will outline the issue inside a more broad comprehension of the perplexing procedures of interaction between various cultures, regulations, and viewpoints in the legal sphere.         

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is an offence in India that is rarely reported. A recent study on the prevalence of sexual abuse among adolescents in Kerala reported that 36% of boys and 35% of girls had experienced sexual abuse at some point in time[1]

A similar study conducted by the Government of India having data set of approx. 17,220 children and adolescents revealed shocking results and revealed that every second child in the country was sexually abused; among them, 52.94% were boys and 47.06% were girls. The highest sexual abuse was reported in Assam (57.27%) followed by Delhi (41%), Andhra Pradesh (33.87%), and Bihar (33.27%)[2]

Sexual abuse and sex trafficking remain exceedingly pervasive in India. Over the last few decades, an expansion in the pervasiveness of sexually transmitted diseases has been seen in children. Children who are casualties of sexual abuse regularly know the culprit in some way. Consequently, the issue of child sexual abuse should be addressed through less ambiguous and more stringent punishment.

Table 1

Physical AbuseSexual AbuseEmotional AbuseGirl Child Neglect
Slapping/KickingSexual AssaultHumiliation is the lowering of the self-esteem of the child by harsh treatment, ignoring, shouting or speaking rudely, name-calling, and use of abusive languageLack of attention to girls as compared to brothers
Beating with stave or stickMaking the child fondle private partsComparison is between siblings and with other childrenLess share of food in the family
Pushing Making the child exhibit private body parts Siblings care by the girl child
ShakingExhibit private body parts to  a child Gender discrimination
 Photographing a child in nude  
 Forcible kissing and sexual advance during travel situations   
 Sexual advances during marriage situations  
 Exposure- children forced to view private body parts and children forced to view pornography materials  
Indicators of selected forms of abuse, as outlined above, are identified for verifying its different forms.

Growing concerns about female infanticide, child rapes, and institutional abuse of children led to the commissioning of the first large-scale government-sponsored research study to assess the extent and nature of child abuse in India[3]

Sexually abused children are severely let down by the systemic failure of the criminal equity framework to address their grievances and by social segregation related to such sexual abuse. 

Just 3 % of child sexual abuse offences revealed by Kacker L. Mohsin study were accounted for and reported to the police[4]. It is obvious that child sexual abuse is extremely underreported given the disgrace and related socio-social shame, particularly if the abuse is with regards to the family. This phenomenon is not unique to India but rather regular to collectivist societies in other Asian nations where an individual’s affair is overlooked in order to shield the family from disgrace related to sexual abuse.

This was the first time that the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)[5] tabulated data in terms of the relationship of the victim and the accused in cases involving rape. The data showed, that less than 2% of rapes committed on women in the year 2015 happened at the workplace. In the case of children, the data revealed[6]:

NCRB Data

Legal response to Child Sexual Abuse in India

Indian Penal Code and its lack of specific mandate around the protection of children from abuse

Until 2012, the main sexual offences against children perceived by the law were secured by 3 (Three) Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) not particular to children/youngsters.

The crimes which were enlisted were 

  1. Rape (sexual intercourse without consent—Section 376), 
  2. Outraging modesty of a woman (unspecified acts—Section 354), and, 
  3. Unnatural acts characterized as “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” (anal sex, homosexuality or bestiality—Section 377). 

Thus, different types of non-penetrative sexual assaults, harassment, and exploitation were not expressly perceived as crimes and hence not recorded. 

Increased activism around child protection issues in the media and public discourse in the past may have resulted in the Government of India passing a special law i.e. POCSO (as defined hereinbefore). 

The POCSO Act criminalized rape, sexual harassment, and pornography which involves a child (under 18 years old) and mandates the setting up of Special Courts to assist trials of these offences.

Table 2

YearAll IndiaMaharashtra
20012113367
20054025634
20105484947
20128541917
2013123631546
Table 2 hereinabove, indicates recorded child rape cases nationally and for the state of Maharashtra as a case study. Maharashtra is one of the most developed states in India and is among the top 3 (three) states with the highest recorded child rapes from 2001 to 2013.[7]

Indian children, who represent a staggering 40% of the whole population of the nation, have been forced to be in a condition of defencelessness as per applicable laws (until POCSO Act, and some may argue, even after the legislation was passed) because of the indifference of the legislature to bring relevant laws, and further disregard to enforce by the ruling classes. The absence of a lawful structure protecting children just empowered sexual predators more and more. 

One of the issues is that under the Indian legal/legislative framework the meaning of ‘a child’ contrasts from the law to law. Irrespective of the different definitions, there lies an obligatory commitment of the Centre and State to provide for and protect children.

Despite the strong mandate put forward by national and international laws for protecting the rights of the children, the Indian council did not step up to fill in the insufficiencies with stringent laws. 

As explained earlier, for example, loopholes can be found in the Indian Penal Code, where the code is silent on child sexual abuse. The absence of authoritative acknowledgment of child sexual abuse as a criminal offence regularly constrains prosecutors to depend on summed up arrangements that are not prepared nor built to handle such child sexual offences

The first legislation for the security of children against sexual abuse came as the Goa Children’s Act of 2003. It adhered to the United Nations Conventions on the Rights of the Child. The Act criminalized child abuse and meted out punishments for sexual assault and incest.[8] It prohibits soliciting children for commercial exploitation in the form of pornography or suggestive and obscene photographs.[9] The Act has an all-encompassing definition of ‘commercial sexual exploitation of children.[10]

Similarly, the Commission for protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 was a national legislation that put forth the constitution of children’s courts in states and districts to ensure expeditious trial for offences against children.[11]

The POCSO Act, was passed in light of the expanding occasions of grave sexual offences against children and low rates of conviction for the same. This was the first legislation in the nation governing offences against children and clearly defines them. It includes within purview the abuse of boys as well as girls.[12]

Distinctive features of POCSO and its Provisions protecting Children                                

The POCSO Act was intended to impart trust in numerous child casualties of abuse who have been denied equity because of the loose ends in penal laws. The Act is dynamic in its approach. It is unbiased and sets down stringent laws for a scope of sexual offences. 

There are some issues in this act which are-

No preventive measures

Generally, the POCSO Act makes a fine job with regards to managing cases of child sexual abuse. However, nowhere does the Act specify provisions to prevent abuse. The Act just sets down measures to be taken after the child has endured sexual abuse. It ought to unquestionably incorporate provisions for prevention also since punishment should never be the sole deterrent. In instances of child sexual abuse, prevention is certainly the best cure. Possible preventive measures can be the setting up of a website that has details of first-time offenders.[13]

Age of Consent

The age of consent for sex from 16 to 18 is unquestionably a step back. A study conducted by the International Institute for Population Studies and Population Council in 2010 reveals that instance of pre-marital relationships amongst those above 16 years is higher than ever before.[14] Another lacuna born from such an unreasonable provision is, to the point that sex between two consenting young people, for instance, a 17-year-old girl and a 19-year-old boy, will bring about the child being accused of the offence of child sexual abuse regardless of the possibility that the age contrast between the two is negligible and both the teenagers have engaged with safe, consensual sex.

POCSO is likewise groundbreaking in numerous aspects, in that, the meaning of sexual harassment includes repeatedly or constantly following, watching, or reaching a child either directly, electronically, or through different means[15]—thus, covering incidents of child harassment by means of sexting or sexual cyberbullying. Be that as it may, the translation of what may constitute “repeatedly” or “constantly” following or contacting a child with sexual plan (with the law determining sexual purpose being a ‘question of fact’) is unspecified in POCSO 2012 and thus is conceivably contestable.

Case Laws under POCSO:

(i) In State v. Suman Dass, a 15-year-old girl eloped and married a 22-year-old man. Her mother filed a case of kidnapping and sexual assault against the man. The girl admitted in the court that she had willingly gone with him and had sexual intercourse. In such a case, under POCSO, the man would be held guilty, as it does not recognize consensual sex with anyone below the age of 18 years.

However, the judge held that strict interpretation of the provisions of POCSO would mean that ‘an individual below 18 years of age has no choice over his/her body and cannot be allowed to have pleasures associated with one’s body.’ Hence, the man was acquitted.

(ii) In State v. Aas Mohammad, a pregnant girl aged 14 years admitted before the court that the only reason she and her mother filed a case against the man with whom she had sexual intercourse is that he refused to marry her. The man was acquitted when he offered to marry her and provide shelter to her mother.

Child Marriages in India

Indian culture is in reality extremely complex society, invaded with the same age-old convictions, social sanctions and prohibitions, obsolete ceremonies, and traditions. In a nation where ignorance and poverty are overwhelming variables, early marriage is frequently seen as the main alternative for girls and is regularly observed by guardians of girls as a method for securing both their own and their girl’s future. 

The causes and outcomes of child marriage are characteristically connected, including young girls’ absence of self-sufficiency and low levels of training, weakness status, destitution, and general low financial status. The current government examines demonstrates that more than 65% are entering into marriage, before the age of 18 (eighteen) years in India. 

Child marriages cause high rates of maternal mortality and one woman dies every seven minutes in India due to causes and issues related to pregnancy.

Minor girls are abruptly exposed to sex and they’re abused and exploited sexually in light of the fact that when a child is married, she is probably going to be constrained into sexual movement with her spouse, and at an age where the bride is not physically and sexually developed, it causes extreme health problems. 

Girls aged l0-14 are five times more prone to die in pregnancy or labour than women at the age of 20-24. It is an enormous obligation for a girl to end up with a spouse and become a mother. On another note, these girls may not be able to confront these problems. Which necessitates a considerable amount of development and an increase in awareness of societal expectations. 

This substantial weight seriously affects their mental welfare, their impression of themselves, and furthermore their conjugal relationship. Women who wed early will probably endure unavoidable mental and in addition physical results. 

Studies show that children who marry at such ages will probably have a higher trust factor for a belief that the spouse can beat his significant other, and are, in this way, more inclined to experience abusive behaviour at home themselves. 

Exploitation can be at the hands of the spouse or the spouse’s family. Girls who understand no better at such a tender age can sadly be said to enter new families as residential slaves for the in-laws and may live under constant risk. Early marriage has additionally been connected to spouse deserting, separation, or divorces. 

The girl child additionally needs to always confront the dangers of being widowed by their spouses who are frequently considerably more aged than them, and if they have a sudden demise.

In these examples, the girl child endures extra segregation in the Indian culture.  The young widows are considered dependable of the demise of their better half and endure a loss of status in the societal hierarchy and can be fully alienated by society and even denied property rights. 

Problems regarding child marriage in India 

More than 40% of the world’s child marriages occur in India, despite the fact that the lawful age for marriage is 18, as per the guidelines provided by UNICEF. 

Child marriage is considered a crime in India and the Indian government has attempted to make concrete moves to try and fix laws against child marriage, however, sadly the customary practices keep the practice of child marriage very much alive, regardless of lawful prohibitions. 

As per the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006, priests, police, local leaders, etc. can be imprisoned and fined if found that they perform, conduct, direct, abet any child marriage. Any member of an organization or association, promoting, permitting, participating in a child marriage, or failing to prevent can also be punishable by law. 

This Act provides insurance of sorts, to numerous young girls and boys constrained into marriage consistently in the provincial parts of the nation. They are compelled to assent with their parent’s choice or decision.

Sometimes, these concerned parties are extremely tender in age and as per mental development, making it impossible for them to comprehend the essentialness of marriage and don’t comprehend the gravity of the occasion. Girls are debilitated, tormented, extorted, and abused in the process.

Age Of Consent

Every sexual action/act depicted under POCSO Act is considered to be a criminal offence on the off chance that they include a “victim” less than 18 years old years. This remains constant to the issue of assent or the age of the ‘perpetrator’. 

In instances of consensual sex between two minors, the ideas of victim and offender can become distinctly tradable as the law inflexibly criminalizes sexual conduct for under-18-year-olds. The POCSO Act does not give any rights or powers to a youth/person under 18 years of age, who may then be at risk for becoming a perpetrator of sexual acts under the law. POCSO perpetually criminalizes an adolescent “victim” of child sexual abuse to be “managed under the arrangements of Section 34(i)[16].

Regardless, in 2013 a Special Court judge rejected the possibility that the human body of a man under 18 years is the property of the State, whereby it can confine solitary freedom on sexual lead. While referring to facts of a matter wherein a 15-year-old girl ended up consensually marrying a 22-year-old man, the judge held that criminalizing the man’s actions in these circumstances would not live up to the intent and foundations and purpose of the applicable laws. Morally, this may not hold up in our eyes, however, the purpose of the applicable laws is not to punish a man in such facts and circumstances as per this case.

There remains a strain between the letter of the law and its spirit. Making sense of if a declaration including underage sex was compelled or consensual would depend essentially on case-by-case factual and contextual comprehension of the prevailing conditions. 

The law considers misuse in either bearing: being exorbitantly restrictive of children’s freedom or unnecessarily permissive of child sex abuse. In this way, the applicable laws herein, including POCSO Act, create challenges for “victims” and also “offenders” under 18 years, the latter are criminalized, yet not given the help they may require in certain valid and just circumstances.

Age determination

Determining the age of the victim and the perpetrator is fraught with problems. The Special Court under provisions of Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, is authorized to determine age (as per Section 34(2) POCSO Act). 

However, there are no clear guidelines as to how they are to do so It is generally acknowledged that forensic means of establishing the age of a living person can be inexact and quite complicated. The Supreme Court of India ruled in the case of Babloo Pasi vs State Of Jharkhand and Anr that age determination is very difficult in the absence of birth certificates or other official documentation and while the opinion of a specially constituted Medical Board may be useful in determining the age, it cannot be the only or conclusive factor to do so (Supreme Court of India 2008). 

The Supreme Court further states that a hyper-technical approach should not be adopted and the Court should lean towards giving the benefit of the doubt to the juvenile while ensuring that the law is not being misused. 

Under POCSO Act, the ages of both, victim and perpetrator are pivotal in determining whether and how the POCSO Act would apply and influencing the outcome at the charging and trial stages. 

In developing countries like India where a large proportion of births are not even registered, and therefore substantial parts of the population do not have documents like birth certificates or school leaving certificates to provide proof of age, this is problematic.

Evolution of Law Pertaining to Child Marriage in India

In 1860, Raja Rammohan Roy, led a movement and carried on many initiatives for social change, development, and fought for flexibility for women in Indian society. He interpreted the East in the light of the West is one way to put it, but it was a lot more than that. 

He was a socio-religious reformer, a government official, and an educationist. Rammohan Roy was the main man who supported core causes for women’s rights. The Brahmo Samaj and the Arya Samaj took up the causes for acting against child marriage, in affiliation with him. 

There was a need for a unique law to spare children and women from physical sufferings, and provocation from the hands of the spouse and his family. It was at the occasion of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar that the initial step was taken toward this path in 1860. 

The Indian Penal Code denied marriage to a girl child under 10 (ten) years of age. This age was viewed as low by later reformers like Keshab Chandra Sen and Behramji Malabari. 

The eligible age settled under the Brahmo Act 1872, for girls was 14 years and for boys was 18 years. Under this Act, plural marriage, polygamy, and newborn child relational unions were made outlandish. Sen needed to advance social changes through schools and associations which would teach individuals against social damages. 

Malabari was another social reformer of this time. He took up the reason for upheld widowhood and youngster marriage in the nineties of the most recent century. He began the development against this shrewd all over India. He distributed a leaflet entitled “New-born child Marriage and Enforced Widowhood”. 

Another occasion that quickened enactments regarding the matter was the matter of Phulmani Dasi, a child of just 11 years who was married to a 35-year-old grown-up spouse. He assaulted her, eventually leading to her death. The demise of Phulmani Dasi was an essential figurehead driving the woman specialists to send a notice to the Government asking for reasonable enactment to avert child marriages. This was bolstered by 1,500 Indian women who sent a letter to Queen Victoria arguing comparative changes. 

On the suggestions of this board in March 1891, the Age of Consent Bill was passed by the Government whereby dwelling together with a spouse less than 12 years old years was disallowed.

Child Marriage Restraint Act, 1929

British Indian government, under the pressure of the world opinion, the social reformist in India and Nationalist freedom fighters, referred the Sharda’s Bill (Hindu Child Marriage Bill) to a select committee of ten-headed by Sir Moropant Visavanath Joshi. 

Women’s Indian Association and the National Council of Women in India, through their members, developed and articulated the argument in favor of raising the age for marriage and consent before the Joshi Committee. Even the Muslim women represented to the Joshi Committee. 

Child Marriage Restraint Act 1929, passed on 28 September 1929 in the British India Council of India, fixed the age of marriage for girls at 14 years and boys at 18 years. It is popularly known as the Sarda Act, after its sponsor Harbilas Sarda. It came into effect six months later on April 1, 1930. 

The main aim of the Act was to restrain the solemnization of child marriages in India and it applies to all classes of people throughout British India. The Act prohibited the marriage of boys below 18 years and girls below 14 years of age. A male above 18 below 21 years, punishable with the fine of Rs.1,000 for those who contracts child marriage. Section 5 of the act, insists the persons engaged or parents/guardians are punishable with a fine of Rs.1,000. But the impact of the social reality and notions that the child marriages were made neither void nor voidable, but once performed they were perfectly valid.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948:

The Declaration was drafted by representatives of all regions of the world and covered all legal traditions. Formally adopted by the United Nations on December 10, 1948, it is the most universal human rights document in existence, delineating the thirty fundamental rights that form the basis for a democratic society.

In Article 16 it is stated that-

  • Men and women of full age have the right to marry and found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.
  • Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending parties.”

This has been incorporated through various personal law acts in the case of various religions in India[17]. It is a secular democratic setup that has not been able to protect everyone’s interest on the same ground to abolish child marriage so in 2006 in India separate legislation had been passed.

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006

In response to the plea (Writ Petition (C) 212/2003) of the Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy at the Supreme Court, the Government of India brought the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act (PCMA) in 2006, and it came into effect on 1 November 2007 to address and fix the problems of the Child Marriage Restraint Act. 

The change in name was meant to put forward the prevention and prohibition of child marriage, rather than restraining it.[18] The previous Act also made it difficult and time-consuming to act against child marriages and did not focus on authorities as possible figures for preventing the marriages. 

This Act kept the ages of adult males and females the same but made some significant changes to further protect the children. Boys and girls forced into child marriages as minors have the option of voiding their marriage up to two years after reaching adulthood, and in certain circumstances, marriages of minors can be null and void before they reach adulthood. 

All valuables, money, and gifts must be returned if the marriage is nullified, and the girl must be provided with a place of residency until she marries or becomes an adult. Children born from child marriages are considered legitimate, and the courts are expected to give parental custody with the children’s best interests in mind. 

Any male over 18 years of age who enters into a marriage with a minor or anyone who directs or conducts a child marriage ceremony can be punished with up to two years of imprisonment or a fine.[19]

Conclusion

In this piece, the author has highlighted the key essential orthodox dynamics of the institution of marriage in India, which confides within all the elements of sexual abuse. The practice of child marriage which has been diminishing but continues practice in the rural parts of the country is due to its socio-economic aspect.

Despite being educated about the consequences of child marriage and its impact which can be also sexual in nature they cannot be eradicated and the Indian legal system has been progressing towards more stringent laws in order to do so, but it has been effective in urban areas of the country but failed in the rural areas.

The practice of child marriage has been a rooted practice in the early 20th century which was prohibited by the statute in the year 1929 which was the colonial era. 

During that era, this problem was observed and acted upon by the British. In the current era, it could be observed that it has been acknowledged as a social problem but due to the other socio-economic problems, it has still been a vent out for the parents in rural India who are poverty struck in the patriarchal set up would not like to bear with the finances of the child till the age of majority.

The traditional practice works in their interest as they can give away their daughter at an early age where her mental and physical development has not taken place completely. 

But to curb the financial problems they have been taking this step as a scapegoat. It has been a wide gap between the traditional practice and efficiency of law in order to bridge the social and economic nature of the same. 

The dynamics surrounding this problem are to be entertained with the same platform. The problem which follows child marriage is treacherous which has been highlighted above in this detailed research.

This is to highlight the vicious circle/cycle, which has been the reason which the legal policies have not fully been able to break through and eradicate this problem of child marriages in India. 

The measures which have taken place have been a gradual development with the evolving nature of society over a period of almost ninety years. But this progression has not come in terms with the notion of the 21st century. 

Dealing with the intricacies further has created a space for a lot of technical issues due to the setup of the country. India being a secular democratic setup has personal laws. There are various religions being practiced that have different notions about the concept of child marriages.

The Hindu religion had a practice of child marriage which has been barred by the law and also been acknowledged but it has had gradual development, that has not completely withered away from the practice either. 

The second most followed religion is Muslim law, which is not codified in India. It is believed to have a minimum age of puberty as the rightful one to be married.

As personal laws are not in harmony, in a secular Diaspora it tends to become a problem for legislations or acts or rules or policies to govern different sects together.

The author would like to conclude by suggesting uniform and stringent laws pertaining to child marriage so that the problem of child abuse in any manner can be eradicated fully, with a quicker progression!


[1] Krishnakumar P, Satheesan K, Geeta MG, Sureshkumar K. Prevalence and spectrum of sexual abuse among adolescents in Kerala, South India. Indian J Pediatr 2014; 81 : 770-4

[2] Ministry of Women and Child Development; Government of India. Study on child abuse India 2007. Available from: http://www.wcd.nic.in/childabuse.pdf, accessed on October 10, 2014.

[3] 2007. Kacker, L., Mohsin, N., & Dixit, A. (2007). Study on child abuse: India 2007. New Delhi: Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India.

[4] 2013. Human Rights Watch. (2013). Breaking the Silence: child sexual abuse in India. USA: Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1-56432-980-1.

[5] NCRB, is an Indian government agency responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code and Special and Local Laws. NCRB is headquartered in New Delhi and is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

[6]  Deeptiman Tiwary, NCRB data: 25 per cent of children raped were targeted at work by their employers and co-workers, August 31, 2015

[7] 2015. National Crime Records Bureau. (2015). OGD Platform: Open Data Source Government of India. http://data.gov.in/catalog/crime-committed-against-children-under-different-crime-heads#web_catalog_tabs_block_10. Accessed 16 June 2015

[8] Ss. 8 (1)-(3), Goa Children’s Act, 2003.

[9] S. 8(15),  Goa Children’s Act, 2003

[10] S. 2(jj, ) Goa Children’s Act, 2003

[11] S. 2 Child Rights Act, 2005.

[12] S. 2(1) (d), The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,  2012.

[13] Pinky Virani, ‘Child Sex Abuse and the Law’, available at htpp://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/child-sex-abuse-and-the-law (last visited 11 March, 2017).

[14] Geeta Ramasehan, ‘Law and the Age of Innocence’, available at http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/article3543940.ece (last visited  12 March, 2017).

[15] Section 11 (iv) of POSCO act.

[16] Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2000″

[17] The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, No. 25, Acts of Parliament, 1955 (India); see also The Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956, No. 32, Acts of Parliament, 1956 (India); The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, No. 78, Acts of Parliament, 1956 (India); The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, No. 30, Acts of Parliament, 1956

[18] Goswami, Ruchira (2010). “Child Marriage in India: Mapping the Trajectory of Legal Reforms”

[19] The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, No. 6, Acts of Parliament, 2007

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