• POCSO Act (Prevention of Children from Sexual Offence Act) came into effect on 14th November 2012 which was enacted in consequence to India’s ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992.
  • This special law aims to address offenses of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children, which were either not specifically defined or adequately penalized.
  • The Act defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years. The Act provides punishment as per the gravity of the offence.
  • The Act was further reviewed and amended in 2019 to Introduce more stringent punishment including the death penalty for Committing sexual crimes on children, with a view to deter the perpetrators & prevent such crimes against children.
  • The Government of India has also notified the POCSO Rules, 2020.


Gender-Neutral Nature:

  • The Act recognizes that both girls and boys can be victims of sexual abuse and that such abuse is a crime regardless of the gender of the victim.
  • This is in line with the principle that all children have the right to protection from sexual abuse and exploitation and that laws should not discriminate based on gender.

Ease in Reporting Cases:

There is sufficient general awareness now to report cases of sexual exploitation of children not only by individuals but also by institutions as non-reporting has been made a specific offence under the POCSO Act. This has made it comparatively difficult to hide offences against children.

Explicit Definition of Terms:

  • The storage of child pornography material has been made a new offence.
  • Further, the offence of ‘sexual assault’ has been defined in explicit terms (with increased minimum punishment) unlike an abstract definition of ‘outraging modesty of a woman’ in the Indian Penal Code.

POCSO Rules 2020

Interim Compensation and Special Relief:

POCSO Rules allows the Special Court to order interim compensation for the child’s needs related to relief or rehabilitation after the FIR’s registration. This compensation is adjusted against the final compensation, if any.

Immediate Payment of Special Relief:

  • Under the POCSO Rules, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) may recommend immediate payment for essential needs like food, clothes, and transportation, using funds from the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU), or funds maintained under the Juvenile Justice Act 2015.
  • The payment must be made within a week of receiving the CWC’s recommendation.

Support Person for the Child:

  • The POCSO Rules empower the CWC to provide a support person to assist the child throughout the investigation and trial process.
  • The support person is responsible for ensuring the child’s best interests, including physical, emotional, and mental well-being, access to medical care, counseling, and education. They also inform the child and their parents or guardians about court proceedings and developments related to the case.


Lack of awareness and sensitization

Lack of awareness and sensitization among various stakeholders, such as parents, teachers, police officers, judges, lawyers, medical professionals, etc., about the provisions and procedures under this Act. 

Lack of infrastructure

  • Lack of adequate infrastructure, manpower and resources for the effective functioning of the special courts, police units and child welfare committees.
  • Lack of adequate infrastructure and resources, such as trained personnel, child-friendly facilities, forensic labs, etc., for effective investigation and prosecution of cases under this Act.

Lack of training

Lack of proper training and orientation for the judicial officers, prosecutors, police personnel and medical professionals involved in handling such cases.

Social Stigma

Social stigma and pressure on the victims and their families to remain silent or compromise with the perpetrators.

Low conviction rate and delay

Low conviction rate and delay in disposal of cases due to various factors such as lack of evidence, witnesses, legal aid and coordination among different agencies.

Lack of coordination and cooperation

  • Lack of coordination and cooperation among different agencies involved in handling cases under this Act, such as police, judiciary, social welfare department, child welfare committees, etc.
  • Lack of proper monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to assess the impact and outcomes of this Act on the prevention and redressal of child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.

Steps need to be taken 

Awareness and Sensitization

Creating awareness and sensitization among children, parents, teachers, community members and other stakeholders about the provisions and objectives of the POCSO Act, as well as the signs and symptoms of child sexual abuse and how to report it.

Enhancing the capacity and training

Enhancing the capacity and training of the police, judiciary, medical professionals, social workers and other functionaries involved in the implementation of the POCSO Act, to ensure that they follow the child-friendly procedures and guidelines prescribed by the Act and respect the best interests of the child at every stage.

Strengthening the coordination and collaboration

Strengthening the coordination and collaboration among different agencies and departments such as Women and Child Development, Health, Education, Home Affairs, Law and Justice, etc., to ensure a holistic and integrated approach towards addressing child sexual abuse cases.

Adequate resources

Providing adequate infrastructure, human resources and financial support to the Special Courts, Child Welfare Committees, Special Public Prosecutors and Special Juvenile Police Units established under the POCSO Act, to ensure that they function effectively and efficiently.

Set time limit

Ensuring timely registration, investigation, prosecution and disposal of child sexual abuse cases by adhering to the time-bound procedures laid down by the POCSO Act and ensuring that there is no undue delay or harassment of the child or his/her family.

Support System

Providing adequate medical, psychological, legal and social support to the child victims and their families throughout the process of justice delivery and rehabilitation, as well as ensuring their safety and confidentiality.

Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the POCSO Act regularly by collecting data, conducting audits, reviewing judgments and orders, etc., and taking corrective measures wherever required.

Related Links:

UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act)Eklavya Model Residential Schools
PoSH Act 2013Right To Education (RTE Act) 2009