A quick analysis of the NCRB report 2021 reveals that 1,49,404 cases of crimes against children were recorded last year, which meant that every hour 17 crimes have been committed against children, translating to a whopping 409 numbers of crimes being committed every day against children in the country.
There is a worrying rise in number of crimes against children when compared to last year – while NCRB data revealed that 1,28,531 cases of crimes that had been recorded in 2020 , total number of crimes stood at 1,49,404 in 2021 indicating a remarkable 16.2 per cent increase in crimes reported against children.
A close look at the decadal scenario points to an alarming upward trend where crimes against children increased sharply by 351% between 2011 and 2021.
Further analysis of the NCRB 2021 data suggests that sexual offences against children, especially girls, are steadily on the rise,as one out of every three crimes against children are registered under the POCSO Act (53,874 out of 1,49,404 – i.e. 36.1 per cent of total crimes against children). More importantly, sexual crimes against children shows very strong gender tilt as adolescent girls within 12 to 16 years are reported to be the victims in more than 99 per cent of the cases registered under the POCSO Act.
|POCSO ACT VICTIMS AGE PROFILE 2021|
|Below 6||6-12 years||12-16 years||16-18 years||Total|
|Total child Victims||675||3297||13256||16275||33503|
|% of girl victims||96.30||95.75||99.37||99.58||99.05|
State-wise distribution of crimes against children suggests that Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha account for close to half of the crimes committed against children (47.4 per cent) in India.
Commenting on the trends, Puja Marwaha, the CEO of CRY – Child Rights and You said, “While it’s heartening to see that there is increased public awareness which possibly translates into higher reporting of cases, it should also be kept in mind that in our country many cases often go unrecorded, especially in the remote areas – hence the actual scale of crimes committed against children may be higher than the numbers apparently reflect. And it proves beyond doubt that, in spite of many Government measures having been taken, our children are nowhere close to a safe and protected childhood.”
“The fear was that in all likelihood the COVID pandemic may have left children far more exposed and vulnerable when it came to issues related to child protection and may have increased risks for children manifold at multiple levels; and the current NCRB data has proved it right,” Puja added.
Commenting on the way forward, Puja suggested that “It’s time, more than ever, that urgent measures are needed to strengthen India’s child protection systems and ensure that efforts during humanitarian crises are swift, well-planned and responsive to children’s and families’ priorities. Such a system would enable following of due processes within stipulated timelines and adequately utilise the strengths of a dedicated cadre of child protection officials. But to ensure all these, it needs to have more resources – at both systemic and financial levels, and is not attainable without adequate budget allocations for child protection and safety.”
Focusing on strengthening community-based child-protection mechanisms Puja said, “CRY believes that the Village Level Child Protection Committees can play a critical role as the first ports of call to link with the formal system, and can go a long way in maintaining vigilance, identify vulnerable children and families at the community levels.”
“Also, Legal Services Clinics of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) at the village levels and the Legal Literacy Club of NALSA at the high school levels should be fully functional to ensure access to Justice for children,” Puja highlighted.