New Delhi, Oct 16 (IANS) The Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) on Tuesday said the Ministry of Law has given its go-ahead to remove time-frame for reporting child sexual abuse cases.
Union WCD minister Maneka Gandhi on October 3 had written to Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad asking him to remove the time-limit for reporting child sexual abuse and allow people to complain even “10-15 years later”.
“The Ministry of Law after examining the provisions of POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act vis-à-vis provisions of CrPC has advised that there appears no period of limitation mentioned in Section 19 in regard to reporting of the offences under the POCSO Act, 2012,” the ministry said in a statement.
“Often, children are unable to report such crimes as the perpetrator in most cases is either a family member, a relative or closely known person. Now any victim, at any age, can complain the sexual abuse faced by him/her as a child,” Gandhi said.
The POCSO Act does not provide for any period of limitation for reporting the child sexual offences. The Act 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 the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography.
Under Section 468 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), any offence, including child abuse, which can lead to a prison term of three years has to be reported within three years of the incident.
According to Section 473 of the CrPC, a court may take cognizance of an older case if it is in the “interest of justice” or if the “delay has been properly explained”. However, victims of child sexual abuse often face problems in registering an FIR once they are 18 years of age or more.
“Studies have also shown that the child continues to carry the trauma of sexual abuse till very late in life. In order to overcome this trauma, many grown up people have started coming out to report the abuse faced by them as children,” Gandhi said, urging victims to report the cases through POCSO e-Box.