UNDERSTANDING CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE
Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is a broad term used to describe sexual offences against children. To
put it simply, Child Sexual Abuse occurs when a person involves the child in sexual activities
for his/her sexual gratification, commercial gain or both. Section- 2(1) (d) defines a “child” – as
any person below the age of 18 years.
Child Protection Mechanisms – A Need
STOPPING Child Sexual Abuse is essential. The Indian community should make concerted
efforts to stop child sexual abuse in the country. It is not only the responsibility of the
Government to keep children safe and secure but it is also the responsibility of all of us
to ensure a safe and protected environment for our children to enable them to live with
dignity and free from any form of violence.
One needs to consider the following factors when attempting to understand and assess
cases of child sexual abuse:
1.1. Power and Trust Dynamics
In most cases of child sexual abuse, the offender holds a position of trust and/ or power visà-
vis the child and is often known to the child victim. Statistics of the past few years from the
Crime in India Report of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) suggests that in 80-90% of
the cases, the offender is ‘known’ to the victim. However, there may be many cases where the
offender is a total stranger.
1.2. Age of the Offender
The offender can be either young or old i.e. above 18 years of age or below 18 years of age.
e.g., there are several reported cases in which extremely minor girls aged 4 and 5 years have been
sexually assaulted by senior citizens including grandfathers etc. Similarly, there are several cases
in which 13 or 14 year olds have abused their own classmates or other children.
However, it is important to understand that children do sometimes indulge in/ experiment
with some kind of sexual activity. Caregivers and protectors must be aware of age and
developmentally appropriate sexual activity among children before they label any child as a
A simple reading of POCSO Act suggests that:
•• Any person (including a child) can be prosecuted for engaging in a sexual act with a child
irrespective of whether the latter consented to it.