Who is known as a child?
Different definitions of ‘child’ and ‘minor’, according to different Indian laws are as follows:
- Section 2(ii) of The Child Labour (Protection and Regulation) Act, 1986 states that “a child means a person who has not completed his fourteenth year of age. This Act aims at prohibiting the engagement of children in work. Therefore, this Act makes provisions for persons who have not completed their fourteenth year of age.
- The Motor Transport Workers Act, 1961 which aims at regulation of conditions of work of motor transport workers, defines a child as “a person who has not completed his fifteenth year.” Section 21 of the Act prohibits the employment of a ‘child’ in motor transport undertaking.
- Definition of a child in The Prohibitions of Child Marriage Act, 2006 is, “a child means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty-one years of age, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years of age.”
- Child according to The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 “means a person who has not completed eighteen years of age.” Juvenile Justice Act makes provisions for the welfare and developmental needs of the juveniles.
- Section 2(d) of The Protection of Children from Sexual offenses Act, 2012 states that “a child means any person below the age of eighteen years.” This Act simply aims to protect children from sexual offenses and harassment.
What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. A child cannot consent to any form of sexual activity, period. Child sexual abuse does not need to include physical contact between a perpetrator and a child. Some forms of child sexual abuse include:
- Exhibitionism, or exposing oneself to a minor
- Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing the minor to masturbate
- Obscene phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction
- Producing, owning, or sharing pornographic images or movies of children
- Sex of any kind with a minor, including vaginal, oral, or anal
- Sex trafficking
- Any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child's mental, emotional, or physical welfare.
What is cyber grooming?
It is a gradual calculated process by an offender to indulge a child in a sexually toxic relationship secretly.
To whom child grooming can happen?
It can happen with any child. But, the vulnerable children, who are exposed to harsh situations which may be mentally, physically, or emotionally, who deserve more love & care are the ones who can be easily manipulated & taken advantage of.
What are the stages of cyber grooming?
- After knowing the needs of the child, the offender starts reciprocating them.
- By distancing /creating a void between the child, family & peers which the offender can only fill, to build trust.
- Finally giving shape to his /her bad intentions by using innocence & natural curiosity of the child.
- The child is left with regrets & self-blame due to unaware conscious involvement in the act.
How to protect your child from grooming?
- Keeping sensitive information private.
- Change privacy settings at regular intervals.
- review the media they are exposed to.
- know their social circle.
- Make sure they don’t meet people they just met online. Initiate a healthy conversation if
- something bothers them online.
What do parents experience after their child’s disclosure of sexual abuse incident?
- Doubt themselves as parents or doubt their parenting.
- Question themselves as to why the child didn’t disclose the incident to them but others.
- The abuser might be known and have emotions of love and loyalty associated with them.
- May face decision making of whether to keep the relationship intact with the abuser or not.
- Can end up damaging their relationship with the child if the one with the abuser is continued.
Where can we report Child Sexual Abuse?
- In adverse circumstances, teach your children to use magic numbers in reverse 10-9-8.
- For reporting CSA cases, Helpline numbers such as 112(Emergency Number) 100(Police) are also effective.
- CSA reporting can also be done to Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) of the districts.
- CSA can also be reported at the POCSO E box, here's the link: https://ncpcr.gov.in/user_complaints.php
Why does the cycle of CSA continue?
- Role Reversal: Trying to undo what one has suffered by making others suffer.
- Mix up of emotions: Early encounter may lead to his interpreting abusive acts as a portrayal of love
- Anger management issues: It can affect parenting and intimate relationship if not awarded consciously
- Consistent Feeling of Inadequency: Questioning one's self-worth and accepting the ill-treatment
- Excessive Defensiveness: At times the abused child can be subconscious and abandon sexual relationships because of past mishaps.
How sexual abuse in childhood affects mental health?
- Self-harm: Victims might try to harm themselves to cope up with the difficult thoughts.
- Anger: They might have a hard time controlling their anger.
- Trust issues: Abuse may impair their sense that the world is a safe place and impair their ability to trust others.
- Coping with stress: Victims start to develop a lot of negative emotions, which may be hard to cope up within everyday life.
Reasons why children might not tell about their abuse?
- They believe it’s their fault.
- Scary thoughts come to their mind.
- They are blackmailed by the abuser.
- They think no one will believe them.
- They blame themselves.
- They are too ashamed.
Short term effects of child sexual abuse:
Feeling of powerlessness
Difficulty in concentrating
Flashback of events
Loss of self esteem
Loss of confidence