For Prelims: Child Welfare Police Officer (CWPO), National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), POCSO Act, 2012, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, Child Sexual Abuse.

For Mains: Issues related to Children and steps that need to be taken,

Why in News?

The Ministry of Home Affairs has directed the States and Union Territories to appoint a Child Welfare Police Officer (CWPO) in each police station to deal exclusively with children, whether they are the victims of crimes or the perpetrators of them, in accordance with the recommendations of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

The warning is being issued in response to increased crimes against children, including murders and contraventions of the 2012 Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses (POCSO) Act.

What does the NCPCR's advisory say?

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 mandates that each police station has at least one officer designated as CWPO and not below the rank of Assistant Sub-Inspector.
  • Every city and district should have a Special Juvenile Police Unit, which should be overseen by a police officer with at least the Deputy Superintendent of Police rank.
  • A team would coordinate all police actions involving children made up of CWPOs and two social workers with experience in the field of child welfare, one of whom must be a woman.
  • In order to facilitate public contact, the contact information for the CWPOs should be posted in all police stations.

What is India's situation with regard to crimes against children?

  • Data released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that:
  • Crimes against children increased overall from 1,28,531 in 2020 to 1,49,404 in 2021.
  • The most cases per capita were in Madhya Pradesh (19,173), followed by Uttar Pradesh (16,838), with 16,838 cases.
  • In the entire nation, 1,402 kids were killed.
  • 1,18,549 children were the victims of 1,15,414 reported kidnapping and abduction cases in 2021.
  • In these situations, the top three states were Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Madhya Pradesh.

NCPCR:

  • The NCPCR became a statutory body in March 2007 in accordance with the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act of 2005.
  • It is administratively under the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
  • The Commission's mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programs, and administrative procedures adhere to the perspective of children's rights, as stated in the Indian Constitution and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • The 2009 Right to Education Act investigates complaints involving a child's entitlement to free and compulsory education.
  • It tracks the 2012 POCSO Act's implementation.

What does the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 entail?

  • The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) of 2000 and the Juvenile Delinquency Law were replaced by it.
  • When 16 to 18-year-old minors were found to have broken the law, especially when committing heinous crimes, the Act provided provisions to allow their adult trials.
  • The Act contained measures relating to adoption. The Act superseded the Guardians of the Ward Act (1890) and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (1956) with more readily accessible adoption legislation.
  • The adoption of orphans, turned-in children, and abandoned children has been made possible thanks to the establishment of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a legislative authority for matters relating to adoption.

What does the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012 do?

  • With due consideration for safeguarding the interests and well-being of children, it was passed to protect children from crimes involving sexual assault, sexual harassment, and pornography.
  • It defines a child as any person under eighteen to guarantee the child's healthy physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development. Additionally, it puts the welfare of the child first at all times.
  • Sexual abuse is defined as penetrative and non-penetrative assaults, sexual harassment, and pornography.
  • When a victim is mentally ill or when the abuse is carried out by someone in a position of trust or authority, such as a family member, police officer, teacher, or doctor, the law considers a sexual assault to be "aggravated."
  • Throughout the investigation, the police are also portrayed as guardians of children.
  • Within a year of the offense's reporting, a case of child sexual abuse must be resolved in accordance with the Act.
  • An amendment made in August 2019 states that sexual offenses against children now carry harsher penalties, including death.

Forward Motion

  • Whole-Body Framework: In addition to urging everyone to protect children from working together, the report calls for prioritizing prevention efforts against abuse and creating safe online environments for kids.
  • Multi-Stakeholder Approach: To ensure improved execution of the legislative framework, policies, national plans, and standards, a comprehensive outreach system should be built that encompasses parents, schools, communities, NGO partners, local governments, and police.