New rules under Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 were released in 2020.
Here is what the Rules state:
- Central/state govt to prepare tools and mechanisms to educate children about their rights with respect to their physical and emotional well-being as well as sexual offences. This includes making them aware of who they contact in different kinds of situations that they find themselves in. This mandate also includes promotion of initiatives to develop an understanding gender sensitivity and equality among children. It further asks authorities to teach children to look out for signs of abuse, assault and harassment.
- Institutions working with children (including educational institutions) to have regulatory checks along with regular sensitivity programs and training sessions. Each member of the staff to be require police verification as well.
- A child protection policy to be made by the government to be adopted all organizations working with children.
- Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or the local police shall disclose their name, designation, contact details when reporting an information received as per section 19(1) of the Act.
- When information is received, following is the process to be followed:
- Prepare FIR under section 154 of CrPC + give such copy to complainant for free of cost.
- Arrange access to emergency medical care if child is in need of it as per section 19(5) of the Act.
- As per section 27, take the child to the hospital for conducting a medical examination
- Make sure forensic samples are sent immediately
- Connect the child and their guardian to support services including counselling and legal measures.
- Where the accused lives in the same household/institution as the child, officer to produce child before CWC and CWC to assess and decide if the child can be placed in a safe custody. The CWC must take into account the child’s preferences as much as possible. It must also take into interest the best interest of the child, which includes but is not limited to their disability, needs, hostiry, health, capacity of parents, age and level of maturity etc.
- A support person shall keep the child and their parents updated about the case status as well as legal proceedings wherever required and keep the same information confidential.
- A list of interpreters, support persons, special educator to be maintained at district level. These persons to be contacted when their services need to be engaged.
- Funds with respect to providing for contingent and essential needs of the child to be requested from the DLSA or DCPU or funds maintained for the JJ Act.
- The Special Court has been given the power either suo-moto or on an application made by the child or anyone on their behalf to make a provision of payment of compensation to the survivor/victim child for their relief or rehabilitation at any stage of the trial after FIR is filed. The award of compensation can be awarded in case of:
- A conviction
- An acquittal/discharge
- Accused not being traceable
- Suffering of loss by or injury to Child as a result of the offence
This compensation, in the form of an interim order can be adjusted against any final compensation decided later.
- Within 30 days of the Special Court’s order, it is the State Government who shall have to pay this compensation to the victim/survivor child.
- This compensation order depends on factors including but not limited to type of abuse, gravity and severity of offence and harm caused to child, expenditure for their medical treatment, loss of educational opportunity, loss of employment of child, relationship to offendor, frequency of incidents complained of, outcomes of the offence, example: pregnancy, contraction of STIs or HIV, disability, child’s financial condition to ensure rehabilitation etc.
- Further, any fine that may be payable will also be paid to the child.
- The Rules also laid down 15 entitlements of child victims and survivors after reporting any offence under the POCSO Act.
- The 2020 Rules repeal the 2012 ones except with respect to things done or omitted to be done before this repeal.