Hyderabad: Friends, family friends, those who became friends online, family members and neighbours constitute 99.7 per cent of those who unleash violence and abuse on children, if the profiles of offenders involved in Protection Of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cases in Telangana are any indication.
Friends and those who became friends online on the pretext of marriage constitute 664 persons of the total 1,180 cases booked under the POCSO Act in Telangana in 2019.
This is as per the latest Crime in India-2019 statistics released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Of the 1,180, just three were unknown persons while 1,177 offenders were known to the victim. From these, 664 were friends and 163 were family members while 350 were family friends, neighbours and other known persons. As many as 764 girl victims were between 16 and 18 years while 326 were between 12 and 16 years.
Even as police officials say statistics related to POCSO cases are disturbing, legal experts say the more disturbing fact is that the majority of the accused in POCSO cases being either relatives or friends, which means the safety of children is at high risk even at home.
In some cases, auto drivers who drop children at school or tuition and helpers in school buses were turning out to be the accused while in a few cases, the victim’s neighbours or uncles were turning out to be the offenders.
Additional Public Prosecutor K Pratap Reddy, who secured rigorous punishment to the accused in several POCSO cases, said the victim’s statement was turning out to be crucial in getting punishment to the accused. “If we have material evidence, then we can build the case more strongly against the accused,” he explained.
Recalling recent judgments, Reddy said an auto driver who was convicted for sexually violating a minor girl used to commit the crime while bringing the girl home from school. In another case, a 26-year-old man was sentenced 20 years of RI for raping his five-year-old niece.
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