POCSO cases rise fourfold in Kerala; child rights panel confirms worst fears

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Thiruvananthapuram: A report of the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights has thrown light on the most likely perpetrators of sexual offences against children.

A report based on the cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in Kerala last year revealed that the majority of the children were subjected to sexual abuse at their own homes.

Children also fell victim to sexual offences at schools, in vehicles, at religious institutions, hospitals, childcare facilities and friends’ houses.

According to the 2022-2023 annual report of the Commission, 601 of the accused were neighbours and 170 were teachers. Children could identify 908 of the accused. The majority of the victims were girls aged between 15 to 18.

A total of 4,582 POCSO cases were reported in the state last year and 5,002 were arraigned as accused. Of this, 4,643 are men and 115 are women. The data on the remaining 244 have not been made available to the Commission by the police. 

Of the POCSO cases reported last year, 1,004 offences were committed at children’s houses. Also, 133 incidents were reported at schools, 102 in vehicles, 99 at hotels, 96 at friends’ houses, 60 at religious institutions, 29 at hospitals and 12 at childcare facilities.

 Among the 4,642 children who fell victim to sexual offences, 55 were in the age group of 0 to 4 while 367 were aged between 5 to 9.

Increasing trend

During the 10 years after the POCSO Act came into effect in 2012, the number of cases in Kerala has quadrupled. A total of 1,002 cases were reported in 2013, while it increased to 4,582 in 2022. 

Last year, the highest number of POCSO cases were reported in Thiruvananthapuram district (583), followed by Malappuram (555), and Ernakulam (464) districts. The lowest number of cases were reported in Pathanamthitta (189).

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