- National Crime Records Bureau data analysed by NGO Child Rights and You (CRY)
- Over 99% of crimes registered under the POCSO Act in 2020 were against girls
- Most offences were committed against girls between the age of 16 and 18
Over 99% of crimes that were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in 2020 were against girls, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data which showed that a girl child continues to be part of one of the most vulnerable sections of the society.
An analysis of the latest NCRB data done by the NGO Child Rights and You (CRY) revealed that among 28,327 children who were victims of crimes reported under the POCSO Act, 28,058 were girls.
Upon deeper analysis of the data, it was found that crimes against adolescent girls who were aged between 16 to 18 were the highest at 14,092, followed by 10,949 crimes against girls within the 12 to 16 age group under the PCSO Act.
Even though both boys and girls are equally susceptible to abuse, the data from NRCB reveals that it is girls, irrespective of their age groups, who are more vulnerable to sexual offences than boys.
On Monday, which was the International Day of the Girl Child, CRY said that girls are being celebrated all across the world and a lot is talked about their rights, however, they continue to be one of the most vulnerable sections of the society as shown by the NCRB data.
Going by the latest data released by the NCRB, in September, more than 99% of crimes committed in 2020 under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act were against girls.
Director of Policy Research and Advocacy at CRY, Priti Mahara, said that the recent trends of girls bearing the brunt of crimes amongst children should not be seen in isolation.
She said, “It is vital to understand that along with the protection-related challenges, aspects linked to education, social protection, poverty, etc. also play a significant role in the empowerment of the girl child; and assessing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on these parameters is equally crucial”.
She added, “During the crises, girls face multiple vulnerabilities – their access to education is further restricted and they become more exposed to the risks of child marriage.
“They are also more likely to experience violence and sexual exploitation in multiple forms and degrees”.
Laying emphasis on the emerging need for a stronger child protection mechanism, Mahara said that over the past few years some progress has indeed been made in terms of girls’ education and strengthening child protection systems, however, the COVID-19 induced pandemic has derailed the growth.
Since the vulnerability of the female juveniles has now increased multifold, chances of girls dropping out of the education system and falling from the protection safety net have correspondingly increased, Mahara added.
Mahara also said that girls, particularly the ones in their adolescence, face many protection risks during and after any humanitarian crisis.
She said, “Given the immediate and long-term risks arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the need of the hour is, therefore, to reinforce gender-responsive protection interventions and ensure that these are implemented to the fullest”.