Author: Abhinav Jindal, I year B.B.A.,LLB from Symbiosis Law School, Nagpur.
“Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul.”
~ “Dave Pelzer”
Child Abuse as wide, is not known in society, Child abuse can affect a child physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc., Mostly the cases of child abuse sufferers are hidden from society and the number of sufferers which is not recorded are actually much more in number as compared to the cases recorded. Generally, families are not aware of the malpractice that the child suffered and if they are aware, they hide it from the eyes of society as well as the courts of law due to the shame in their social lives and do not file the case. Resulting the culprits are freely roaming in the society without any fear of legal authority. Hence, we see an increase in child abuse cases excessively because the wrong doers are not punished as the child abuse cases are not registered in the courts of law. It leaves an adverse effect on the child, affecting children in physical and brain development, leading the child to mental health problems and childhood trauma. But now, the people are aware due to the awareness programs started by the NGOs and government, about the rights they get in the society to protect their children from being abused and the children are now safe in the society.
(Keywords - Child abuse, society, disaster, maltreatment, it’s effect, victims, solution, trials.)
Child abuse is the maltreatment of a child ‘under the age of 18 years’ by an adult. Maltreatment to a child might be Physically, Sexually, Emotionally, and psychologically. Child abuse could occur by the negligence of parents or guardians which results in potential harm to a child which would affect the child’s physical or mental growth. Abuse could happen within the surroundings where a child lives or plays like schools, the child’s house, while communicating. Culprit tends to look for a while where abuse could be done to their target without anyone’s knowledge. There are 4 forms of maltreatment from which a child could suffer;
Types of Child Abuse
Physical abuse – It is caused when children are ‘hurt’ or ‘injured’, it's not by disaster rather abuse. It's not every time that abuse leaves some marks of injuries. It includes: - Hitting, Punching, Burning, etc.
Sexual abuse –It happens to a child when an adult, a teenager, or a child uses their command or grip to involve other children in sexual activity.
Emotional abuse – It is also known as psychological abuse. It happens when a child is treated in a manner by which social, emotional development is negatively impacted. As an example - Bullying, Isolation for a longer period, Rejection, Family violence may result in emotional harm.
Neglect – it happens when a child’s basic requirements or needs don’t seem to be fulfilled, which ends up in control of the child’s health. For Example – personal hygiene, health care, a proper clothing.
Substantial child abuse – when a child is indulged in drugs or alcohol consumption, it can put a child’s life in danger. When adults use drugs or alcohol in front of the child it states child abuse. Even he/she is not physically hurt.
Medical child abuse – it happens to the child when his adult caretaker installs him/her too much medicine, surgeries, or a lab test which causes harm to a child.
Effects of Child Abuse
Child abuse in early childhood could leave a lasting effect on the child’s mind which slower his/her mental development. The child starts experiencing a range of emotional as well as psychological problems leading to harm within the child’s life and difficulty in overall development.
Mental Health – The impact left on the child of abuse may affect the child in adulthood as well. It may result at attention deficit, hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Childhood trauma – It can result in trust issues, behavior, and relationships of the child. Which results in destructive mood of the child. He/she can be addicted to drugs or alcohol and can also get unwanted suicidal thoughts.
Behavioural issues – The child may result in a change in mood, change in behavior, sadness, aggressiveness, low self-esteem, etc., it can be continued in adulthood too.
Brain development – It can affect a child’s brain development and cognitive abilities. It may cause difficulty in speech and learning disorders.
Teens are more likely to be abused sexually which engages them in greater risk of STDs.
Impact on Ancestors – as far as concerning the impact of maltreatment on the children’s themselves, their ancestors are also affected with anxious and are not confident about how to treat and keep up a child who is abused. Child attitude or conduct must be difficult to treat with, and the ancestors must be in the difficulty to cope it.
Impacts of future wellbeing – Children who have suffered from child abuse are low in studies and have been indulged in bad habits. It is a long-term physical and mental health difficulty. And ones who are now in serious offences have been suffered with child abuse in their childhood.
Places where Children are Abused
Child abuse in sports - Countries like Europe (Monaco) recorded 3-quarters of children facing child abuse in sports and boys are more preferred to be a victim than girls. The foremost common style of abuse suffered by children in sports outside of school was psychological, starting from an absence of praise to humiliating treatment.
Child abuse in the home – It is also known as domestic violence. Abuse in the home could be based on the biases, discrimination, etc., by the parents with concerning the siblings.
Child abuse isn’t ending rather it’s increasing day by day. Children are going through, a hidden problem of child abuse. The child who is abused is likely to abuse others in his childhood and it goes on from one generation to another. There’s a frequent number of child abuse cases occurring within the world. More than 1700 cases of child abuse have been recorded in Punjab. “An NGO working for the welfare and protection of children's rights stated that, within the annual report released this week an average of 8 children are sexually and physically assaulted in the country daily said Sahil”. The Indian child protection bureau should be focused and should put more effort to prevent sexual and physical abuse. More comparative, hard rules and laws should be maintained for the culprits of child abuse. More awareness programs should be launched to bring in everyone’s knowledge about the malpractices happening in the country said bureau chairman Sarah Ahmed. International government data shows more than 5 children’s death every day as of child abuse.
In the total of 5 children 4 are girls and 1 is a boy who is sexually abused which was analysed by “An International society for the prevention of child abuse”.
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), one in 5 women and 1 in 13 men reported sexual abuse as a child aged 0-17 years.
More than 100 million teenage girls under 20 years of age suffer forceable sexual contracts.
Nearly 75% of the children aged 2-4 years are suffering regularly from physical and psychological abuse.
Approximately 7 lakh children are abused in the United States each year. Near about 6.78 lakh are victims who were found abused. This data may be incomplete due to underreported cases of child abuse.
Welfare authorities reported that they ensured the safety of more than 3 million they also received an investigation or other responses from the child protection agency.
“In 2020, a total of 1 lakh 28 thousand cases were registered for crime against children also shows a decrease of 13.2% over the last year.”
Major crimes headed under “Crime Against Children” during 2020 were “kidnapping 42.6% and the child rape was 38.8%.”
“The crime rate per lakh was 28.9% in 2020.”
More than 24 lakh immediate online child abuse cases very registered during three years with 80% females below 14 years of age.
Child Abuse Acts and Laws in India
The main legal protection to the child is stated which are easily accessible under the acts.
Section 315 and 316 of the Indian penal code – deals with the child leading to death before he is before and doing an act with which he/she could not bear alive. In this case one is punished up to 10 years of imprisonment, fine or both together.
Section 317 of the Indian penal code – deals when a child is being abandoned by his parents, then they shall be punished with imprisonment up to 7 years, fine, or both.
Section 366(A) of the Indian penal code – if any girl who is less than 18 is convinced to have sexual intercourse with an adult should be punished to imprisonment up to 10 years, fine or both.
Section 372 and 373 of the Indian penal code – if anyone is buying or selling a minor girl for prostitution or any other unlawful purpose shall be punished and imprisoned up to 10 years, it could be extended.
“The protection of the children from sexual offenses Act 2012”– This act was formed to protect children from sexual harassment and sexual assault and any other unlawful acts against children. This act is not gendered biased.
Child Welfare Committee (CWC) – the formation of the committee is under women and child development. The committee helps the children who need of help and protection. They have to inform the police within 24 hours. 1098 is a toll-free number and anyone can report if they think that child needs help or protection.
The POSCO Act, 2012 – According to this act the gravity of the offence ranging from minor to major of varying period and kinds. There are the provisions for a penalty which the court decides. An offence is considered disaster us when committed by a person having some authority or by a trusted person like a law officer, public servant, etc.,
The Important Judgments
Sakshi v. The Union of India and others - the case was filed in Honourable Supreme court against child abuse of a minor who was raped. she was given justice and the ones who committed the crime are punished to an extent, also the case was dismissed.
Independent thought v. The Union of India and others - the case was filed within the Honourable Supreme court against a man who was married to a lady between 15 and 18 years of age. Though they are married the court decided it to be a ‘Martial rape’.
Ghanashyam Misra v. The State – the case was filed within the Orissa High Court against a male school teacher who used his position to rape a 10-year-old girl child as a consequence he ruined the child’s life. After the case was present in the Hight court he was sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment under section 376 I.P.C and “the sentence of fine of Rs. 200 and the payment of compensation to the girl’s father as both maintained.
What’s the solution to Child Abuse?
India has a good range of rules to protect children and the fundamental component of community development is kid’s protection. The challenge is in prosecuting the rules due to improper human resource to contain on the ground and quality prevention. Which results those millions of children being addicted to violence and abuse. The violence takes place at home caretaker institutions and in society too. Often the violence is carried by someone who is known to the child and that’s the reason that country has fair policies and legal work that involve rights for the protection of children, providing all the quality services and opportunities to easily access children’s rights. Progress of social awareness has been started, enhancing legislation and encouraging action towards ending up child abuse and violence, but much more is needed to be done to make sure survivors and their families are many benefitted from protection. There are many more steps that can prevent child abuse;
Role of Parents in protecting their child from abuse – parents should be aware of the sexual threat and should protect their children from abuse through the study of “bad touch”. Parents while talking to children on these topics should be very frankly taught to their children how it works.
Reporting incidents as child abuse (online system to report sexual assault)– the ministry of women and children’s development, an e-box is an online platform to report sexual assault with enables the children to report against incidents like wrong touch molestation. These reports are gone to the national commission for the protection of child rights.
Reporting incidents as child abuse (in a police station) – when a child is assaulted sexually it’s a duty a police officer must address the child abuse case under “POSCO (protection of children from sexual offenses). The protection of children from sexual offenses has increased cases brought to the court”.
Teaching the children their rights – when children are taught that they are special and have the right to tackle the situations they should also be taught that they should be less likely to think that the abuse is their fault and more likely to think to report as an offender.
Supporting prevention programs – when the abuse is reported too often, mediate occurs. Greater investments are needed in programs that have been stepping up to stop sexual abuse before it is recorded such as a family counseling.
Volunteer your time – Involve with other parents and guardians within the society. Help the abused children to form a play group.
Invest in kids – motivate the leaders in society to support the children. Asking lawmakers to support legislation to protect the children better.
Examine your own behavior – both actions and words need to be examined. Should be a nurturing parent. Use action to show your children, that conflicts could be handled without any physical hitting.
Discipline your children practically – never ever discipline your child when you are upset. The moment you start disciplining you’re the first thing you have to is calm yourself. Use privileges to motivate good behavior and time to help your child regain control.
Educate others – “support to the child and guardians could be the best way to prevent child abuse”. After school hours, activities should be started, parents should be mentored. Moreover, care is the best way to keep children protected from harm. Should be your own voice for the betterment of the community.
Child abuse is a major impacting problem that can affect people in the walk through all across the country. It is important to remind public that child abuse is severe to a child’s health and development of the body. As an individual, one has its ability to accept their personal responsibility for lessening the act of child abuse, by supporting each other as preventing child abuse is not only the matter of parents or guardians doing a better job, rather it is about creating context.It can impact a child in many ways, in various aspects of life. It is generally discussed in terms of physical, psychological, etc., as is not even possible to separate them fully. Psychological as a cognitive and emotional difficulty is often known as high-risk behaviours . Depression and anxiety could make such person to bad habits like smoking, drug abuse, and alcohol. In turn, it can lead to long term health problems like sexual transmitted problems, cancer, etc., the children who are abused, shows many chances to abuse their own child. As in a recent year there is a huge rise in abuse cases all over the world due to the awareness program created by many NGOs and police to protect children from being physically, mentally and emotionally abused at work places, or by their parents or guardians at their living place. To reduce the increasing rate of certainty, it is important to increase the rate of investigation and trials in court. A person committing a disaster us act should be indulged in a proper investigation and trails so that the wrong doers should know the liability that they are going to suffer from, before committing any of the disaster us act which causes children to suffer in their childhood. Hereby, the conclusion is that the child abuse could be abolished only when all the people of the nation support each other so that all the children could be protected and in case of abuse, reporting against the person to the public servants and making the person liable, suffering the investigation and trails of the court.
Dave Pelzer, A Child called “It”, 1995
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