The Delhi High Court on Thursday issued notice and sought the response of the Delhi government on a plea challenging the provisions of the Delhi Victims Compensation Scheme of 2011, on grounds that it discriminates against male victims of child sexual abuse.
The plea has also sought enhancement in the amount of compensation given to child victims of sexual assault.
“There is an urgent need for upward revision in the scale of compensation,” the plea stated, which also includes data on the amount of compensation being offered by the governments of Goa, Assam, Kerala, and other states.
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The plea, filed through advocates Diya Kapur and Sheyl Trehan for NGO iProBono, has sought compensation of Rs 10 lakh for a minor boy who was sexually assaulted by three older students in his school in 2013.
The plea alleges that the child had undergone severe mental and physical trauma, while his family had suffered financial hardships and had to move away and change his school after the incident.
“The scheme does not provide for compensation for various offences under the POCSO Act, as a result of which aggravated offences like penetrative sexual assault of a minor… receive compensation of only Rs 50,000 under the general head of ‘child abuse’ even though victims of rape receive compensation of Rs 3 lakh,” the plea stated. The court of Justice Sanjeev Khanna and Justice Ashutosh Kumar on Thursday issued notice to the government to file its replies on the issue.
Speaking to The Indian Express, co-director of NGO Haq Bharti Ali said “several” cases of male child sexual abuse have been reported in Delhi since the creation of the POCSO Act in 2012. The NGO is currently supporting “at least five” male victims of child sexual abuse.
Data released by iProBono also shows that in a survey of children who reported sexual abuse, including rape or sodomy, 57.3 per cent of the victims were found to be boys and 42.7 per cent were girls.
“Yet, the sexual assault of boys is severely under-reported. Also, traditionally held notions of masculinity often prevent reporting and prosecution of offenders,” officials at the NGO said.