A large majority of the Indian children continue to remain in distress and turmoil. The problem of emotional, physical and sexual abuse of children in India is increasing; child abuse is usually classified into three major types: physical, sexual, emotional. The public and the government also are yet to recognize it as a serious problem. Public indignation and professional concern is yet to be translated into positive and realistic action.
The major cause of child abuse is adaption or environmental maladjustment mostly on the part of adult perpetrators but some extent on the of adult responsible for family socialization as well. Most child abuse occurs in a child’s home which a smaller amount occurring in the organization, schools or communities the child interacts with. There are four major categories of child abuse: Neglect, physical abuse, psychological/emotional abuse, sexual abuse
Child neglect is where the responsible adult fails to provide adequately for various needs, including physical: failure to provide adequate food, clothing, emotional: failure provide nurturing or affection, educational: failure to enroll a child in school, or medical: failure to medicate the child or take him or her to the doctor.
Physical abuse is physically aggression directed at child by an adult. It can involve punching, striking, kicking, showing, slapping, burning, pulling ears or hair, stabbing, choking or shaking a child. Shaking child can cause shaken baby syndrome. Boys are more battered than girls, the transmission of toxins to child through its mother (such as with fetal alcohol syndrome) can also be considered physical abuse in some jurisdictions.
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Girls are victims of sexual abuse than boys a high proportion of children become victims of sexual abuse when they are fourteen or above 14 years of age. Form of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities, indecent exposure of the genitals to a child, actual sexual contact against a child, physical contact with the child’s genitals, viewing of the child’s genitalia without physical contact, or using a child to produce child pornography.
Effect of child sexual abuse include guilt and self-blame, flash back, nightmares, fear of things associated with the abuse , self- esteem issues, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain , addiction, self-injury, depression, anxiety
Emotional abuse is the hardest to define. It could include name-calling, ridicule, degradation, destruction of personal belongings, torture or destruction of a pet, excessive criticism, inappropriate or excessive demands, withholding communication, and routine labeling or humiliation. A large number of parents who ill-treat their children are those who are aggressive, irritable and domineering in their behavioral characteristics: fickle-minded, inflexible and less tolerant in their emotional characteristics: and have low-esteem, feeling of alienation, and lack of ability empathize in social characteristics.
Child labour refers to the employment of children at regular and sustained labour. This practice is considered exploitative by many international organizations and is illegal in many countries Child labourers are exploited, exposed to hazardous work conditions and paid a pittance for their long hours of work. Forced to forego education, shouldering responsibilities far beyond their years, becoming worldly wise when their peers have yet to leave the cocoons of parental protection, these children never know what child hood is.
Children’s Development is as important as the development of material resources and the best way to develop national human resources is to take care of children. India has the largest child population in the world. All out efforts are being made by India for the development and welfare of children specific concentration is being given to the efforts to improve the life and opportunities of the Girl Child.
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Significant progress has been made in many fields in assuring children their basic rights. However, much remains to be done. The country renews its commitment and determination to give the highest priority to the basic needs and rights of all children. Children are most vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. A lot more has to be done for the health, nutrition and education of children. It is unfortunate that girls in particular face debilitating discrimination at all stages.
JUVENILE JUSTICE (Care and Protection of Children) Act
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 was enacted in discharge of the Constitutional mandate that it is the primary responsibility of the state to ensure that all the needs of children are met and that their basic human rights are fully protected
The Act further provides for the establishment of Juvenile Justice Board to deal with the Juvenile in conflict with law.
The Act further provides for punishment of person who commits an offence against the juvenile. In case a juvenile is assaulted, abandoned, exposed or neglected in any manner so as to cause unnecessary mental or physical suffering, by any person in custody of the juvenile, he shall be punished with imprisonment for a term up to six months with or without fine
Child in need of care and protection
Child in need of care and protection means a child who:-
Is found without any home or settled places or abode and without any ostensible means of subsistence,
Is mentally or physically challenged or ill, suffering from primary diseases or incurable diseases having no one to support or look after,
Is a victim of any armed conflict, civil or natural calamity or is being or likely to be abused for unconscionable gains.
The Act further provides for the constitution of the Child Welfare Committees for every district or group of districts for exercising the power and discharging the duties in relation to child in need of care and protection. The committee shall consist of a chairman and four other members, of which one shall be woman and another, an expert on matters concerning children. The committee shall function as a Bench of Magistrates and shall have powers conferred on a judicial Magistrate of the 1st class under the code of Criminal Procedure.
The committee is the final authority to deal with matters of care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of the children so produced.
Legal Right and Provisions to Protect the Rights of Children
Article 14: Right to equality-equality before law and equal protection of law
Article 15: No discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, sex or place of birth. Gender discrimination still exists.
Article 21: right to life.
Exploitation of children in any form is curbing their right to life.
Right to education is also considered as a right to life after the 86th amendment in 2002
Article 23: Right against exploitation-prohibition of traffic in human beings and forced labour.
Article 24: prohibition of employment of children in children in factories, etc-no child below the age of 14 shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or any hazardous employment.
Article 45: Provision for child hood care and education: establishment of anganwadi’s, adolescent clubs are established on this basis.
INTERNATIONAL CONVENANTS ON CHILD RIGHTS
United Nations Convention On rights, 1989(ratified by India in 1992)
Article relevant for protecting children:-
Article 19 makes provision for state parties take protective measures for protecting children from all forms of mental, sexual and physical abuse.
Article 20 & 21 provides for alternative care (adoption, foster care) etc for children.
Article 32 recognizes the need for protection of children from economic exploitation and from performing hazardous work.
Article 33 provides for appropriate measures including legislative administrative social and educational measures to protect children from illicit use of narcotic drugs.
Article 34 urges the state to protect the child from all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse.
TWO OPTIONAL PROTOCOLS TO THE CONVENTION ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD:-
Optional protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.
Optional protocol on the sale of children, prostitution and pornography.
SAARC Convention on Preventing and combating Trafficking in women and children.
Penal provisions to protect children.
366a IPC – Buying minor children, non bail able offence- 10 years imprisonment.
366B IPC- Importing minors for the purpose of the prostitution.
372- Buying or selling any girl below 18 for the purpose of prostitution.
376- Rape of minor girl below 15
377- Unnatural sexual offence.
354- Outraging the modesty of women.
We don’t have special provisions to protect children from child sexual abuse; we usually make use of these provisions to charge the case against the culprit.
SPECIAL ENACTMENTS TO PROTECT CHILD RIGHT
1. Child labour(prevention and regulation) act 1986.
2. Child Marriage Restraint Act 1978.
3. Immoral traffic prevention act 1956.
4. Pre-natal diagnostic techniques regulation act 1994.
5. Juvenile Justice Act 2000.
The political and social problems of Indian children become increased phenomena. The Child problems or child right violations increasing day by day.
There are several written laws to protect their rights, but unfortunately most of them are violated. The state itself is a child right violator. The labour ministry of India has analyzed that it is not easy to prohibit child labour, in such a situation of child right crisis, the government, social agencies, social workers has to go miles through the path of elimination process of social problems of children