Karnataka has reported a 15 per cent increase in the number of cases reported under the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, in the first 11 months of 2021. The state had briefly reported a drop in 2020 with 2,107 cases, from 2,146 in 2019. Until November 2021, the state reported 2,427 cases. At the same time, the number of convictions under the Act also saw a massive drop. In 2019, 49 suspects were convicted compared to only 12 in 2020. In a worse circumstance, only two people were convicted of the crimes in 2021. The acquittals and dismissals have also witnessed a significant drop.
Parents Unable To Keep A Check
The Times of India quoted public prosecutor GV Gayatri Raju saying that social media and mobile phones have contributed to the increase. She said, "Minors of this generation have free access to the internet, and they can watch anything they want on their mobile phones. Today, mobile phones are not just used for communication. Videos, pictures and messaging attract young minds". Furthermore, she added that in many cases, parents of the victims are working professionals who find lesser time to keep a check on their children's activities.
POCSO (Amendment) Bill 2019 Sought Stricter Punishment
Gayatri Raju also mentioned that elopement cases, family members subjecting children to sexual assaults and friends of minor girls misusing their innocence have primarily increased. The POCSO Act, 2012 is a comprehensive act to protect children from sexual assault, harassment, and pornography while safeguarding the child's interests at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording evidence, and speedy investigation trial of offences through designated special courts. After that, the POCSO (Amendment) Bill 2019 sought to provide the offenders with stricter punishments and the death penalty in cases of aggravated sexual assault.
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