The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) 2012 was formulated in order to effectively address sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children. The protection of children from sexual offences Act, 2012 received the President’s assent on June19, 2012 and was notified in the Gazette of India on June20, 2012.
The Act defines a child as any person below 18 years of age. It defines different forms of sexual abuses, including penetrative and non-penetrative assault, as well as sexual harassment and pornography. It deems a sexual assault to be “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abused child is mentally ill or when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority like a family member, police officer, teacher or doctor. The Act also casts the police in the role of child protectors during the investigative process. Thus, the police personnel receiving a report of sexual abuse of a child are given the responsibility of making urgent arrangements for the care and protection of the child, such as obtaining emergency, medical treatment for the child and placing the child in a shelter home and bringing the matter in front of the CWC, should the need arise.
The Act further makes provision for avoiding the re-victimization of the child at the hands of judicial system. It provides for special courts that conduct the trial in-camera and without revealing the identity of the child, in a manner that is as child-friendly as possible. Hence, the child may have a parent or other trusted person at the time of testifying and can call for assistance from an interpreter, special educator, counselor or other professionals while giving evidence. Above all, the act stipulates that a case of child sexual abuse must be disposed of within one year from the date the offence is reported.
The Act also provides for mandatory reporting of sexual offences. This casts a legal duty upon a person who has knowledge that a child has been sexually abused to report the offence; if he feels to do so, he may be punished with 6 months imprisonment/ or a fine.
Ursuline Convent Sr. Sec. School implemented POCSO 2012 on July 1, 2015 for the purpose of safety in the school. We have the “Team POCSO” which consists of 9 members to reach out to the students, teachers and the whole school staff in need of any help or emergency. The team includes the vice principal (Sr. Jessy), the school counselor (Ms. Prisca Julie Franshaw), a coordinator (Ms. Rita Sud), a lawyer (Ms. Sangeeta Arya) and some of the selected staffs(Dr. Anshul Jain, Ms. Sindhu Thomas, Ms. Geetanjali Malhotra, Mr. Anil Sharma, Mr. Virendra).