Frequently Asked Questions

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Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is a form of child abuse where a person uses a child for his or her sexual gratification. The perpetrator is usually someone in a position of authority or trust, and is more powerful than the child. Child Sexual Abuse is a violation not only of the child’s body, but also of the child’s trust.
A study was conducted by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in 2007 on 12’447 children, hailing from all strata of society. 53.22% of the children reported having faced sexual abuse and 21.90% reported having faced severe forms of sexual abuse.
Boys were equally at risk as girls.
90% of the abusers were either known to the children or in a position of trust and responsibility.
Yes – boys are as susceptible to CSA as girls.
    There are many reasons why children do not disclose abuse as soon as it happens.
  • A child may not recognise that what is happening is abuse – especially if the abuser has groomed them, and they are unable to differentiate between safe and unsafe touch.
  • Children may not know what to say to an adult – either because they do not have the language to communicate what has happened, or because they are afraid the adult will not believe them (especially if the abuser is a member of the family).
  • Sometimes a child may feel ashamed and embarrassed by what has happened and so not disclose abuse.
  • A child may be afraid of being blamed or being told what happened was their fault.
    Children may be afraid of losing the love of their parents or even the love of the abuser (if the person is close to them).
  • A child may be afraid of the abuser’s threat that they will harm the child or the family if they tell someone.
An environment that is supportive and empathetic is one of the most important factors that make children disclose abuse. Other factors include being afraid that someone else they are close to is likely to be abused, being unable to bear the pain and trauma any longer and recognizing that what is happening to them is abuse and is wrong.
CSA can have an impact on a child in various ways – physically, psychologically, socially and on their future sexual behaviour. The impact may be short term, or long term.

Physical impacts: Pregnancy, sexually transmitted illnesses, injuries to the genital or anal areas, recurrent urinary infection, and pain while passing motion, psychosomatic illnesses.

Psychological impacts: Fear of people, nightmares, appetite and sleep disturbances, anxiety, clinging behaviour, regressive behaviours like thumb sucking, bedwetting or soiling.

Social impact: Withdrawing from people, always trying to please people, becoming a “model child”, aggression and hostility, and drastic change in academic performance.

Sexual behaviour: Wearing too many or too few clothes, age inappropriate sexual behaviour, vocabulary and knowledge, excessive masturbation and sexual anxieties.

    The long-term impacts include:
  • Inability to form intimate relationships with others
  • Low self-esteem, guilt, shame
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sexually promiscuous behaviour
  • Substance abuse
  • Risk taking behaviour
  • Deliberate self-harm
A child can overcome the trauma of abuse with support and help from trained professionals (if necessary). People whom the child trusts must: believe the child, be non-judgmental and allow the child to express their feelings.
A child who has experienced abuse can learn to move from being a victim to being a survivor, and then learn to thrive. This can happen if the family is supportive, and the child gets professional therapy to deal with the trauma of abuse.
Some adults sexually abuse a child to feel the power and control they do not feel in their relationships with other adults. Sometimes, adults who have intimate sexual relationships with other adults may sexually abuse children in moments of unusual stress, such as after the loss of a job or during a divorce. Some adults are primarily sexually attracted to children, and some never act on those feelings. Some adults act impulsively when presented with an unexpected opportunity to sexually abuse a child. Other people, particularly youths with high social status or with delayed social or emotional development, may not even fully understand the harmful impact of their actions.
Paedophiles are people who are sexually attracted to children, and prefer to have sex only with children. They are usually men. It is important to remember that not all paedophiles act on their desires – most of them know that sex with a child is illegal; many of them do not want to hurt children.
Offenders need a variety of treatment and corrective interventions. These include learning how to make the change in their own behavioural cycle of abuse, learning empathy and positive social skills. The younger the offender, the easier it is to help them change.
POCSO is the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act. It came into effect on 12 November 2012. The salient features of this Act are:
  • It is gender neutral
  • It is child friendly
  • It makes the reporting and the recording of abuse mandatory
  • It lists all known types of sexual offences towards children
  • It provides for protection of children during the judicial process
Yes. Under Section 19 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, it is mandatory to report sexual abuse. Not doing so entails punishment
Yes. If the perpetrator applies for bail, the granting of bail can be decided by the court.
Section 23 of The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, prohibits the media from disclosing the identity of the child. This includes name, address, photograph, family details, school, neighbourhood, or any other particulars which may lead to disclosure of identity of the child.
You can do several things:
  • Believe the child
  • Tell them what happened was not their fault
  • Encourage the child to talk about their experience
  • Do not make suggestions, or ask leading questions
  • Do not ask “why” questions; do not probe unnecessarily
  • Be honest with the child – do not say that this will remain a secret between the two of you; explain to the child that some of the adults in their lives will need to know what has happened
  • Offer your help to the family for filing the First Information Report (FIR), legal assistance, identifying a therapist for the child and the family
  • Keep the best interest of the child in mind always – but do not go against the laws of the country
Personal safety education is an ongoing process of teaching children that their body is special and that they have the right to feel safe and protected. Children need to know the names of private body parts, learn the personal safety rules, know how to recognise safe and unsafe touch, and know what to do if a person abuses or tries to abuse them. Parents and teachers are the best people to give personal safety education. Finally, personal safety education has to be given in a manner that is appropriate to the child’s age.
According to Indian law, any boy or girl below the age of 18 years old is a child.
In India, the laws governing children include:

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (referred to as the JJ Act, 2015)
The JJ Act, 2015, consolidates and amends the laws relating to children alleged and found to be in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection. The Act caters to the basic needs of children through sections on proper care, protection, development, treatment and social re-integration. It adopts a child-friendly approach in the adjudication and disposal of matters for the best interests of children.

The Right to Education Act, 2009
Right to Education – MHRD
The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, known as the Right to Education Act (RTE), describes the modalities of the importance of free and compulsory education for children between 6 and 14 years old in India, under Article 21A of the Indian Constitution. India became one of 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the act came into force on 1 April 2010.

Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986
Child Labor (Prohibition and Regulation) Act
This Act prohibits the engagement of children in certain employments and regulates the conditions of work for children in certain other employments. Under this Act, a child is a person who has not completed fourteen years of age.

Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), 2012, effectively addresses the sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children.
The Act defines a “child” as any person below eighteen years old. The salient features of the POCSO act are:
  • 1. It is gender neutral.
  • 2. It makes both the reporting and the recording of abuse mandatory.
  • 3. It lists all known types of sexual offences towards minors. It makes a sexual assault “aggravated” under certain circumstances, such as when the abuse is committed by a person in a position of trust or authority, or when the abused child is below 12 years old.
  • 4. It provides for the protection of minors during the entire judicial process.


  • Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
    The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006
    This Act prohibits the solemnization of child marriages and also covers matters connected to child marriage. In this Act, “child” means a person who, if a male, has not completed twenty-one years old, and if a female, has not completed eighteen years old.

    Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956
    Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act, 1956
    According to this Act, a young person is a person below 20 years old. The Act prevents the dissemination of certain publications that would harm young persons – by inciting or encouraging them to commit offences or acts of violence or cruelty.
    India has ratified, and is a signatory to, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989

    Convention on the Rights of the Child - ohchr
    In September 1995, India adopted the Beijing Declaration on South-South Cooperation for Child Rights in the Asia Pacific Region
    Beijing Declaration
The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) is a body formed under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and deals with matters related to children in need of care and protection.
The Committee consists of a chairperson and four members; it has the powers of a magistrate. The Committee is the final authority for dealing with cases involving the care, protection, treatment, development and rehabilitation of children. It also provides for their basic needs and protects the rights of children.

The CWC keeps all matters related to children confidential. The Committee is made up of people who work with children on a regular basis, and they are people you can trust. The CWC always makes sure that – as far as possible – the child’s decision is respected.
How do you get in touch with the CWC in your district?
There are several ways of doing this:
Contact your nearest police station or CHILDLINE and ask for the contact number of the Chairperson or a Member of the CWC.
Go to www.trackthemissingchild.gov.in, go to the Resource Directory on the right side of the page and click on the Child Welfare Committee link from the drop down menu.
The Juvenile Justice Board (JJB) is a body formed under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. The JJB deals with matters related to children in conflict with the law. The Board consists of the Metropolitan Magistrate or a Judicial Magistrate of First Class (not being Chief Metropolitan Magistrate or Chief Judicial Magistrate) with at least three years’ experience, plus two social workers, at least one of whom one will be a woman.
Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, each district in the country must have a Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU). The SJPU is the police force unit designated for handling juveniles at district level. Each SJPU is headed by an officer not below the rank of Police Inspector and designated as the Senior Child Welfare Officer (Sr.CWO).
1098 Section of Childline India Foundation Website
Childline India Foundation is a non-government organization (NGO) that operates a telephone helpline called CHILDLINE, for children in distress all over the country.
1098 is India's first 24-hour; toll-free, telephone outreach service for children.
CHILDLINE operates in 366 cities or districts in 34 states or union territories across India. As of March 2015, CHILDLINE had handled a total of 36 million calls.
Under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, a Children’s Home is a facility recognised under this Act for providing care and protection to children who are in need of such a service. A Children’s Home can be established or maintained by the State Government, either by itself, or through a voluntary or non-governmental organization.
Pregnancy tests are most reliable from the first day of the missed period, although some tests can be used as early as four or five days before the period is due. The packaging of the test will say when it can be used. If a girl’s periods are irregular, it may be good to wait at least three weeks after a missed period before doing a test. A positive test is almost always correct. A negative test is less reliable. If a girl still thinks she is pregnant after a negative result, the test can be repeated after a few days.
The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1991, provides for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Acts: Ministry of Health ...

The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994, and The Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Amendment Act, 2002, provide for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception. They also regulate prenatal diagnostic techniques for the purposes of detecting genetic abnormalities or metabolic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities or certain congenital malformations or sex-linked disorders and for the prevention of their misuse for sex determination leading to female foeticide. PCPNDT Act 1994 and Amendments - Pre-Natal Diagnostic ...
A pregnant teen has several choices regarding her baby. She can choose to:
  • keep the baby
  • relinquish the baby – who will then be adopted
  • place the baby in foster care
  • place the baby in a foundling home until she is able to take the baby home
Whatever the choice, it needs to be thought over carefully, and discussed with the family before taking a final decision.
The aim of adoption is to provide a child, who cannot be cared for by his or her biological parents, with a permanent substitute family.

Once a mother decides that she wants to give up her baby for adoption, she has to surrender her baby to a Specialised Adoption Agency, in the presence of a member of the Child Welfare Committee. The mother is given 2 months (60 days) to reconsider her decision to give up her baby. After 2 months the biological mother cannot claim her baby back.
All personal details about the biological mother are kept confidential. Adoptive parents are not – repeat, not – given any of these details.

Some mothers who do not want to keep their baby, give the baby to a couple known to them or to a couple who offers to pay for all the medical expenses during pregnancy and delivery, provided the baby is subsequently given to them. Please know that this is against the law. If you should change your mind later and want to take your baby back, there is no way by which you will be able do this.
A mother may decide that she does not want to give up her baby – but would like the baby to be cared for by a loving family. In this situation, the baby can be placed in foster care with a couple who are willing to be foster parents. The foster family receives no financial assistance from the state.

The process of making sure that a couple is fit to be foster parents is the responsibility of the Child Welfare Committee. Couples who want to be foster parents have to apply to the Committee, which then conducts a home study to make sure that a child placed with this couple will be well taken care of – physically, emotionally and psychologically.

If the biological mother decides she wants her baby back, then the Committee will inform the foster parents and make arrangements to get the baby back. Fostering does not necessarily lead to adoption.
Yes – with the support of her family and therapy for dealing with the trauma of their experience, a teen mother can learn to thrive. She can learn to take control of her life and move on.
Yes it is – up to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1991, the pregnancy can be terminated for several reasons, including if:
  • a woman has a serious disease and the pregnancy could endanger her life
  • a woman’s physical or mental health is endangered by the pregnancy
  • the baby has a serious risk of physical or mental handicap
  • the pregnancy is the result of rape
  • a contraceptive device failed

  • For pregnancy up to 12 weeks, a single doctor must be satisfied that any of the above conditions exist; and for pregnancy between 12 and 20 weeks, two doctors must certify that an abortion is necessary.
    A girl who is below 18 years old will need the written consent of her parent or legal guardian before aborting the pregnancy.
    Abortions can be performed in any medical institution that is licensed by the government to perform medically assisted terminations of pregnancy. Such institutions must display a certificate issued by the government.