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Analysis Reflects Steady Rise In Sexual Offences Against Children, CRY

Even as the country rages over the horrid instance of the gang rape and murder of the eight-year-old in Kathua, and similar incidents that were reported from other parts of the country, an analysis by CRY – a child rights group-- suggests that for a long time now sexual offences against children have been on a steady rise.  

A sexual offence is committed against a child in India every 15 minutes, the analysis has suggested.

In a cumulative analysis, it revealed a significant increase in crimes against minors of more than 500% over the past 10 years (1,06,958 in 2016 over 18,967 in 2006). Further, retrospective comparison within the mentioned timeframe points at a sharper rate of rise between 2012 and 2016 than that recorded between 2006 and 2011.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data suggests that crime against children in India has increased by a staggering 14% between 2015 and 2016.

As per a 2016 analysis of crimes under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, sexual offences accounted for 1/3rd of all crimes against children in India.

Going by the nature of crimes and categories those were booked under, child rape is the second largest category of crime against children in terms of number of reported cases, amounting to more than 18% of all crimes, while kidnapping and abduction (K&A) tops the list accounting for more than half of the total number of crimes (51.1%, number of crimes 54723) as recorded in 2016.

All crimes under POCSO Act constitute around 33% of total crimes against children. The number of sexual offences registered against children increased by an alarming 300% over the last 5 years.

Speaking about the worrying trend of crime against children, Komal Ganotra, Director Policy and Advocacy at CRY said, “Though the topic has been debated and deliberated at length for quite some time now, in the wake of increased incidences of crime against children, what we really lack is an all-encompassing concerted action by all duty bearers. We have consistently fallen short with not having robust prevention mechanism, poor awareness on the issue, failure in rolling out rigorous policies and programs, poor conviction rates and in inadequate budgetary allocation for child protection.”  

“It is non-negotiable for the state and other duty bearers to equip themselves in recognising the risks involved, and put robust preventive and responsive systems and processes to assess and eliminate the same,” she added.

Looking at the concentration of reported incidents across the States, more than 50% of crimes against children have been recorded in just five States, such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi UT and West Bengal. While Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 15% of recorded crimes against children, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh closely follow with 14% and 13% respectively. It is also a matter of grave concern that in 11 out 36 States and UTs, more than 50% of the offences against children are sexual offences and in 25 out of 36 States and UTs more than 1/3rd of the crimes against children are sex crimes.

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