Scheme to Support Pregnant Minor Victims of Sexual Assault
- According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data from 2021, 51,863 cases were reported under the POCSO Act.
- Out of these cases, 64% were reported under sections 3 and 5 of the Act, which pertain to penetrative sexual assault and aggravated penetrative sexual assault, respectively.
- The majority of the victims were girls, and many of them became pregnant, exacerbating their physical and mental health concerns when disowned or abandoned by their families.
- United States: The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) provides funding for programs that support victims of sexual assault, including minors. It emphasizes the importance of coordinated community response and services such as counselling, advocacy, and legal assistance.
- United Kingdom: The Sexual Offences Act 2003 criminalizes sexual offences, including those committed against minors. It also includes provisions for the protection of victims and witnesses during legal proceedings.
- Canada: The Canadian Criminal Code contains provisions related to sexual offences, including those committed against minors. It aims to protect victims and provide legal recourse for their perpetrators.
- Australia: Organizations such as Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia (RDVSA) offer 24/7 hotlines, counselling, and support to victims of sexual assault, including minors.
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India has unveiled a new scheme aimed at providing critical care and support to pregnant minor victims of sexual assault who lack family support.
- The scheme, with an outlay of Rs 74.10 crore, will offer shelter, food, legal aid, and other necessary assistance to these victims across the country.
- The scheme seeks to assist minor girls who have been abandoned by their families due to forced pregnancies resulting from rape or gang rape.
- It acknowledges the physical and emotional trauma experienced by minor victims of rape and aggravated assault, especially in cases where they become pregnant.
- The scheme will leverage the administrative structure of Mission Vatsalya in collaboration with State governments and CCIs to actualise this support to minor victims.
- Also, 415 POCSO fast-track courts are already established across India to expedite justice for minor victims of rape.