Author :- Syeda Khizra Rizvi, Indian Institute of Legal Studies, Siliguri, West Bengal.


Child molestation as per the definition given by UNICEF, violence can be physical and mental abuse and injury, neglect or negligent treatment, exploitation and sexual abuse.

Violence can ake place in homes, schools, orphanages, residential care facilities, on the streets, in the workplace, in prisons and in places of detention. Such violence can affect the normal development of a child with regard to their mental, physical and social being. In extreme cases abuse of a child can result in death or partial injury as well.

In India aprrox 53% of children face some form of child sexual abuse. According to the report of National Crime Records Bureau, the cases of rape and murder of children increase every year. The growing complexities of life and the changed social economic conditions have drwan the children to new and different forms of abuse. But the sad state of the affairs is that such heinous acts are reported less in the court of law. It has such a psychological impact on the mental status of the child that he seldom gathers the courage to speak about the act being committed against him.

If even he (the child) confides the fact with someone, the social factors let the fact being dumped under the fear and pressure of family reputation and other related issues. In fact child abuse is a violation of the basic human rights of a children.


Child molestation are in many forms: physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, and exploitation. Any of the said form that are potentially or actually harmful or dangerous to a child’s health, survival, dignity and development are abuse.

  • Physical Abuse:

Physical abuse is the inflicting of physical injury upon a children. This may include burning, hitting, punching, kicking, beating or any other harming a child. Sometimes in oder to punish The child for parents beat them which makes them more violent.The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child. It may sometimes be the result of over-discipline or physical punishment that is inappropriate to the child’s age.

  • Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse is inappropriate sexual behaviour with a child in regard to the private parts. It includes fondling a child’s genitals, making the child fondle the adult’s genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy and sexual exploitation. To be considered ‘child abuse’, these acts have to be committed by a person who is responsible for the care of a child (for example a baby-sitter, a parent, or a daycare provider), or related to the child.

If a stranger commits these acts, it would be considered sexual assault only and handled solely by the police and criminal courts.

  • Emotional Abuse:

Emotional abuse is also known as mental abuse, verbal abuse or psychological maltreatment. It includes acts or the failures to act by parents,  guardian or caretakers that have caused or could cause, serious behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or mental trauma. This can include parents, guardian or caretakers using extreme and/or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement in a closet or dark room or being tied to a chair for long periods of time or threatening or terrorizing a child.

Less severe acts, but still no less damaging or harm causing, are belittling or rejecting treatment, using derogatory terms to describe the child, habitual tendency to blame the child or make him/her a scapegoat.

  • Neglect:

It is when the parent, guardian or caretaker are the failure to provide for the child’s basic needs. Neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional. Physical neglect can also include inadequate food or clothing, inappropriate medical care, supervision, or improper weather protection (heat or cold). It may include abandonment. Educational neglect includes failure to provide appropriate schooling or special educational needs, allowing excessive ancestries. Psychological neglect includes the lack of any emotional support and love, never attending to the child, substance abuse including allowing the child to participate in drug and alcohol use.


India has signed a number of international documents and declarations that pertain to the rights of the children. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UN CRC) was assented to by India in 1992. In 2005, the Government of India accepted and agreed the two Optional Protocols to the UN CRC, addressing the involvement of children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. India also signed the International Conventions on Civil and Political Rights, and on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

India is also a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1989 prescribing standards to be adhered to by all State parties in securing the best interest of the child and outlines the fundamental rights of children, Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) also applicable to girls under 18 years of age and the SAARC Convention on Prevention and Combating Trafficking in Women and Children for Prostitution.


The Constitution of India include a number of provisions for the protection and welfare of the children.

It has also empowered the legislature to make special laws and policies to safeguard the rights of the children as under Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 19(1) (a), 21, 21(A), 23, 24, 39(e) 39(f) of the Constitution of India contain provisions for the protection, safety, security and well-being of all it’s people, including children or with regard to them.

National Policies

The major policies that have been formulated to ensure child rights and improvement in their status are:

  • National Policy for Children,
  •  1974National Policy on Education,
  •  1986National Policy on Child Labour,
  •  1987National Nutrition Policy,
  •  1993Report of the Committee on Prostitution,
  • Child Prostitutes and Children of Prostitutes and Plan of Action to CombatTrafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Women and Children, 1998National Health Policy,
  • 2002National Charter for Children, 2004National Plan of Action for Children, 2005


A complaint alleging the commission of any act amounting to abuse of a child can be made to the police. The Police helpline number is 100 butbut in case the police fails to register a FIR or does not investigate the case, then the aggrieved party can write an application to the Superintendent of Police under Section 154(3) of CrPC.Even if there is failure on the part of the Superintendent of police to take action, or that even after registering it no proper investigation is held, the aggrieved party can file an application under Section 156(3) of CrPC before the learned Magistrate concerned.

In such cases the Magistrate can direct the FIR to be registered and also can direct a proper investigation to be made, in a case where, according to the aggrieved person, no proper investigation was made.

The Magistrate can also under the same provision monitor the investigation to ensure a proper investigation.An online complaint can be made at the website of the National Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights by clicking on the following link: complaint can also be addressed to:

  • Chairperson

 National Commission for Protection of Child Rights,

 5th Floor, Chanderlok Building, 36, Janpath,

 New Delhi – 110 001

  (E-Mail: [email protected])


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