The Union women and child development (WCD) ministry is working with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to prepare more specific data on child abuse as part of efforts to curb such instances, according to officials aware of the development.

The NCRB and the ministry officials will build a data bank on instances and cases listed under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, to find correlations and other specifics as part of the plan.

Officials said data on the number of cases that list the relationship between a minor victim and an assaulter exists.

As part of the new efforts, data such as whether an accused is a relative or a person a child trusts, such as a teacher, driver, etc, will be recorded. An orientation course for NCRB officers is also being planned.

As part of the ministry’s efforts to prevent child sex abuse, 1,073 fast track courts were also approved across the country on Thursday to deal with crimes under the POCSO to clear up backlogs.

The courts were approved in November last year to clear pending cases under POCSO. To set up these courts, which will have one-year tenure, Rs 750 crores have been set aside.

Officials of the WCD ministry said that 18 states have agreed to set up these courts, each of which will have Rs 75 lakh earmarked for them.

Currently, there are 664 dedicated existing special fast track courts and 2,021 public prosecutors, as per data with the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights.

Maharashtra, Tripura, West Bengal, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Manipur, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Haryana have all agreed to set up these courts.

A ministry spokesperson said that WCD minister Smriti Irani will write to chief ministers of the states who have not come on board yet.

Vidya Reddy of the Chennai-based Tulir Centre for Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse said that while the changes are welcome, investigations take much longer than they ideally should.

“Forensics, for instance, take a long time. Regular forensics in child abuses cases take any time between three to four months. Cyber forensics take even longer. There needs to be more capacity-building instead,” said Reddy.

Also read | In Smriti Irani’s POCSO overhaul, sex animes with minors now child porn

First Published:
Jul 11, 2019 23:22 IST

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