Survivors of child sexual abuse can file a police complaint after they become adults. The government clarified on Tuesday that there is no time bar on reporting such crimes.
The Law Ministry concurred with the opinion of the Ministry of Women and Child Development that unlike the Code of Criminal Proceedings (CrPC), the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012, does not lay down a time limit for reporting crimes covered under it. “The Ministry of Law, after examining the provisions of POCSO Act vis-à-vis provisions of CrPC, has advised that there appears no period of limitation mentioned in Section 19 in regard to reporting of the offences under the POCSO Act, 2012,” according to a statement.
Section 19 of the POCSO Act, which deals with sexual crimes against children, lays down the procedure for reporting a crime but doesn’t specify a time limit or statute of limitation for reporting it.
Whereas the CrPC lays down different time-limits for crimes which carry a punishment of up to three years, there is no time bar for crimes that would attract a jail term of more than three years.
This is an important step for survivors of child abuse, who may try to file a complaint as adults but are turned away at police stations.
“I am optimistic that this will help reduce the levels of child sexual abuse,” said 53-year-old Canadian scientist of Indian origin who was abused as a pre-teen.