Written by: Vanshika Pannu & Monisha Jain
Violence against children is a phenomenon happening worldwide in the form of physical, sexual, and psychological violence children are deprived of basic care, social services, health care, child abuse, neglect, etc.
We can say children are one of the social groups facing this, they are facing many problems that remain unresolved. The short and long-term consequences for children against violence are very often destructive and costly.
Violence against children includes all forms of violence against people under 18 years of age whether by people, caregivers, peers, romantic partners, or strangers.
It is estimated that 1 billion children between 2 -17 years experienced physical, sexual, or emotional violence or neglect in past years. The Target of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development is to end abuse, exploitation, trafficking, and all forms of violence against and torture of children.
Types of violence against children :
1. Child abuse
2. Physical violence
3. Emotional violence
Neglect Child abuse:
Refers to child maltreatment and all forms of physical, emotional, and ill-treatment that result in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development, and dignity. Physical violence: It refers to the intentional use of physical force that can result in physical injury. It involves throwing, hitting, slapping, burning, and poisoning which leave some sign of burn, broken bones etc. Emotional violence: It refers to psychological abuse and is invisible but powerful. It occurs when a person purposefully harms children say worth or well-being by conveying that they are inadequate, worthless, or involved. Children who face this become anxious/afraid or show extreme behavior. Bullying: It refers to the violence that is prevalent in schools and includes cyberbullying. It is unwanted aggressive behavior done by another child or group who are neither siblings nor in any relationship with the victim.
It refers to the recruitment, transporting, and kidnapping, of children for the purpose of slavery, forced labor, and sexual exploitation. Neglect: It refers to when an adult or caretaker facts to meet a child’s basic physical and emotional needs. Sexual violence: It refers to non – consensual completed or attempted sexual contact. It commonly occurs against girl children when marriages took place [ forced marriages ]. It is an act that forces a child into participating in sexual activities. Rape, penetration, kissing, watching others performing sexual acts, forcing a child to undress, etc.
Impact of violence against children:
It has lifelong impacts on the health and well-being of children, families, communities, and nations.It can:
1. Result in death
2. Lead to severe injuries
3. Impair the brain and nervous system
4. Drug addiction
5. Unintentional pregnancy
6. Contribute to a wide range of non-communicable diseases
7. Impact future opportunities
If we talk about the prevention and response violence against children can be prevented. Under World Health Organisation a group of ten international agencies has developed a plan to end violence this plan is named INSPIRE which provides seven strategies for ending violence as well as benefits in areas such as mental health, education, and crime reduction.
The government has brought a special law to deal with child sexual abuse cases POCSO ACT 2012 the act is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children from the offenses of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography while safeguarding the interests of children by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording, investigation and speedy trial of offenses by a special court.
The act is gender-neutral and regards the best interests and welfare of the child as a matter of permanent importance. The act defines a child as any person below 18 years and ensures the health, physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development of a child. It defines various kinds of abuse, accordingly mandatory reporting of cases has to be done of violence by a person or suspect who has knowledge of a sexual offense being committed against a child, and then report to a local police station.
[section 19]. Most importantly there is no time limit for reporting cases, also the confidentiality of the victim’s identity, and prohibits disclosure of the victim's identity in any form of media except permitted by special courts.
The act provides for punishment graded as per the gravity of the offense and provision for the aggravated offense with higher punishments under special circumstances.
Following are the offense covered under this act.
Penetrative sexual assualt:
If a male person penetrates either his penis or any object or any part of his body or does something to either penetrate into the private part of a child or make him/her do so to themselves or to other people.
Sexual assault :
It refers to whoever touches the private parts of a child with bad intentions or makes the child do such an act that involves physical contact without penetration is said to be committing sexual assault.
Sexual harassment :
It refers to an offense in which any person with sexual intent utters a word or makes any sound, or gesture with the intention that the child will see that part or hear the sound, he is said to commit an offense of harassment.
Use of child for pornographic purposes:
It refers to showing a porn film to a child with any sexual intention or using a child for a pornography purposes is an offense and is punishable by five years.
The fundamental principle includes :
1. RIGHT TO LIFE AND SURVIVAL
2. RIGHT TO BE PROTECTED FROM DISCRIMINATION
3. RIGHT TO SPECIAL PREVENTIVE MEASURES
4. RIGHT TO BE INFORMED
5. RIGHT TO BE HEARD AND EXPRESS VIEWS
6. RIGHT TO EFFECTIVE ASSISTANCE, PRIVACY, SAFETY, AND COMPENSATION
In India, the law commission report in 1967 concluded that capital punishment should be abolished as time has changed and the sentencing is arbitrary.
RAJENDRA PRASAD VS STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH:
In this case, it asserted that the death penalty was a violation of articles 14 and 19,21. There are two requirements for imposing the death penalty. Exceptions include minors, pregnant women, and intellectually disabled.
UNICEF DATA: https://data.unicef.org