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Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Rules, 2020
In exercise of the powers conferred by section 45 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (32 of 2012), the Central Government hereby makes the following rules, namely:––
1. (1) Short title and commencement.–These rules may be called the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Rules, 2020.
(2) They shall come into force on the date of their publication in the Official Gazette.
2. Definitions –
(1) In these rules, unless the context otherwise requires, –
(a) “Act” means the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (32 of 2012);
(b) “District Child Protection Unit” (DCPU) means the District Child Protection Unit established by the State Government under section 106 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (2 of 2016);
(c) “Expert” means a person trained in mental health, medicine, child development or other relevant discipline, who may be required to facilitate communication with a child whose ability to communicate has been affected by trauma, disability or any other vulnerability;
(d) “Special educator” means a person trained in communication with children with disabilities in a way that addresses the child’s individual abilities and needs, which include challenges with learning and communication, emotional and behavioral issues, physical disabilities, and developmental issues. Explanation.––For the purposes of this clause, the expression “disabilities”, shall carry the same meaning as defined in clause (s) of section 2 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (49 of 2016);
(e) “Person familiar with the manner of communication of the child” means a parent or family member of a child or a member of child’s shared household or any person in whom the child reposes trust and confidence, who is familiar with that child’s unique manner of communication, and whose presence may be required for or be conducive to more effective communication with the child;
(f) “Support person” means a person assigned by the Child Welfare Committee, in accordance with sub-rule (7) of rule 4, to render assistance to the child through the process of investigation and trial, or any other person assisting the child in the pre-trial or trial process in respect of an offence under the Act;
(2) Words and expressions used and not defined in these rules but defined in the Act shall have the meanings respectively assigned to them under the Act.
3. Awareness generation and capacity building–
(1) The Central Government, or as the case may be, the State Government shall prepare age-appropriate educational material and curriculum for children, informing them about various aspects of personal safety, including–
(i) measures to protect their physical, and virtual identity; and to safeguard their emotional and mental wellbeing;
(ii) prevention and protection from sexual offences;
(iii) reporting mechanisms, including Child helpline-1098 services;
(iv) inculcating gender sensitivity, gender equality and gender equity for effective prevention of offences under the Act.
(2) Suitable material and information may be disseminated by the respective Governments in all public places such as panchayatbhavans, community centers, schools and colleges, bus terminals, railway stations, places of congregation, airports, taxi stands, cinema halls and such other prominent places and also be disseminated in suitable form in virtual spaces such as internet and social media.
(3) The Central Government and every State Government shall take all suitable measures to spread awareness about possible risks and vulnerabilities, signs of abuse, information about rights of children under the Act along with access to support and services available for children.
(4) Any institution housing children or coming in regular contact with children including schools, creches, sports academies or any other facility for children must ensure a police verification and background check on periodic basis, of every staff, teaching or non-teaching, regular or contractual, or any other person being an employee of such Institution coming in contact with the child. Such Institution shall also ensure that periodic training is organised for sensitising them on child safety and protection.
(5) The respective Governments shall formulate a child protection policy based on the principle of zero-tolerance to violence against children, which shall be adopted by all institutions, organizations, or any other agency working with, or coming in contact with children.
(6) The Central Government and every State Government shall provide periodic trainings including orientation programmes, sensitization workshops and refresher courses to all persons, whether regular or contractual, coming in contact with the children, to sensitize them about child safety and protection and educate them regarding their responsibility under the Act. Orientation programme and intensive courses may also be organized for police personnel and forensic experts for building their capacities in their respective roles on a regular basis.
4. Procedure regarding care and protection of child–
(1) Where any Special Juvenile Police Unit (hereafter referred to as “SJPU”) or the local police receives any information under sub-section (1) of section 19 of the Act from any person including the child, the SJPU or local police receiving the report of such information shall forthwith disclose to the person making the report, the following details:-
(i) his or her name and designation;
(ii) the address and telephone number;
(iii) the name, designation and contact details of the officer who supervises the officer receiving the information.
(2) If any such information regarding the commission of an offence under the provisions of the Act is received by the child helpline-1098, the child helpline shall immediately report such information to SJPU or Local Police.
(3) Where an SJPU or the local police, as the case may be, receives information in accordance with the provisions contained under sub-section (1) of section 19 of the Act in respect of an offence that has been committed or attempted or is likely to be committed, the authority concerned shall, where applicable, ––
(a) proceed to record and register a First Information Report as per the provisions of section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), and furnish a copy thereof free of cost to the person making such report, as per sub-section (2) of section 154 of that Code;
(b) where the child needs emergency medical care as described under sub-section (5) of section 19 of the Act or under these rules, arrange for the child to access such care, in accordance with rule 6;
(c) take the child to the hospital for the medical examination in accordance with section 27 of the Act;
(d) ensure that the samples collected for the purposes of the forensic tests are sent to the forensic laboratory immediately;
(e) inform the child and child’s parent or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence of the availability of support services including counselling, and assist them in contacting the persons who are responsible for providing these services and relief;
(f) inform the child and child’s parent or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence as to the right of the child to legal advice and counsel and the right to be represented by a lawyer, in accordance with section 40 of the Act.
(4) Where the SJPU or the local police receives information under sub-section (1) of section 19 of the Act, and has a reasonable apprehension that the offence has been committed or attempted or is likely to be committed by a person living in the same or shared household with the child, or the child is living in a child care institution and is without parental support, or the child is found to be without any home and parental support, the concerned SJPU, or the local police shall produce the child before the concerned Child Welfare Committee (hereafter referred to as “CWC”) within 24 hours of receipt of such report, together with reasons in writing as to whether the child is in need of care and protection under sub-section (5) of section 19 of the Act, and with a request for a detailed assessment by the CWC.
(5) Upon receipt of a report under sub-rule (3), the concerned CWC must proceed, in accordance with its powers under sub-section (1) of section 31 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 (2 of 2016), to make a determination within three days, either on its own or with the assistance of a social worker, as to whether the child needs to be taken out of the custody of child’s family or shared household and placed in a children’s home or a shelter home.
(6) In making determination under sub-rule (4), the CWC shall take into account any preference or opinion expressed by the child on the matter, together with the best interests of the child, having regard to the following considerations, namely:––
(i) the capacity of the parents, or of either parent, or of any other person in whom the child has trust and confidence, to provide for the immediate care and protection needs of the child, including medical needs and counseling;
(ii) the need for the child to remain in the care of parent’s, family and extended family and to maintain a connection with them;
(iii) the child’s age and level of maturity, gender, and social and economic background; (iv) disability of the child, if any;
(v) any chronic illness from which a child may suffer;
(vi) any history of family violence involving the child or a family member of the child; and,
(vii) any other relevant factors that may have a bearing on the best interests of the child: Provided that prior to making such determination, an inquiry shall be conducted in such a way that the child is not unnecessarily exposed to injury or inconvenience.
(7) The child and child’s parent or guardian or any other person in whom the child has trust and confidence and with whom the child has been living, who is affected by such determination, shall be informed that such determination is being considered.
(8) The CWC, on receiving a report under sub-section (6) of section 19 of the Act or on the basis of its assessment made under sub-rule (5), and with the consent of the child and child’s parent or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence, may provide a support person to render assistance to the child in all possible manner throughout the process of investigation and trial, and shall immediately inform the SJPU or Local Police about providing a support person to the child.
(9) The support person shall at all times maintain the confidentiality of all information pertaining to the child to which he or she has access and shall keep the child and child’s parent or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence, informed regarding the proceedings of the case, including available assistance, judicial procedures, and potential outcomes. The Support person shall also inform the child of the role the Support person may play in the judicial process and ensure that any concerns that the child may have, regarding child’s safety in relation to the accused and the manner in which the Support person would like to provide child’s testimony, are conveyed to the relevant authorities.
(10) Where a support person has been provided to the child, the SJPU or the local police shall, within 24 hours of making such assignment, inform the Special Court in writing.
(11) The services of the support person may be terminated by the CWC upon request by the child and child’s parent or guardian or person in whom the child has trust and confidence, and the child requesting the termination shall not be required to assign any reason for such request. The Special Court shall be given in writing such information.
(12) The CWC shall also Seek monthly reports from support person till the completion of trial, with respect to condition and care of child, including the family situation focusing on the physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, and progress towards healing from trauma; engage with medical care facilities, in coordination with the support person, to ensure need-based continued medical support to the child, including psychological care and counseling; and shall ensure resumption of education of the child, or continued education of the child, or shifting of the child to a new school, if required.
(13) It shall be the responsibility of the SJPU, or the local police to keep the child and child’s parent or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence, and where a support person has been assigned, such person, informed about the developments, including the arrest of the accused, applications filed and other court proceedings.
(14) SJPU or the local police shall also inform the child and child’s parents or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence about their entitlements and services available to them under the Act or any other law for the time being applicable as per Form-A. It shall also complete the Preliminary Assessment Report in Form B within 24 hours of the registration of the First Information Report and submit it to the CWC.
(15) The information to be provided by the SJPU, local police, or support person, to the child and child’s parents or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence, includes but is not limited to the following:-
(i) the availability of public and private emergency and crisis services;
(ii) the procedural steps involved in a criminal prosecution;
(iii) the availability of victim’s compensation benefits;
(iv) the status of the investigation of the crime, to the extent it is appropriate to inform the victim and to the extent that it will not interfere with the investigation;
(v) the arrest of a suspected offender;
(vi) the filing of charges against a suspected offender;
(vii) the schedule of court proceedings that the child is either required to attend or is entitled to attend;
(viii) the bail, release or detention status of an offender or suspected offender;
(ix) the rendering of a verdict after trial; and
(x) the sentence imposed on an offender.
5. Interpreters, translators, special educators, experts and support persons–
(1) In each district, the DCPU shall maintain a register with names, addresses and other contact details of interpreters, translators, experts, special educators and support persons for the purposes of the Act, and this register shall be made available to the SJPU, local police, magistrate or Special Court, as and when required.
(2) The qualifications and experience of the interpreters, translators, special educators, experts and support persons engaged for the purposes of sub-section (4) of section 19, sub-sections (3) and (4) of section 26 and section 38 of the Act,and rule 4 respectively shall be as indicated in these rules.
(3) Where an interpreter, translator, or special educator is engaged, otherwise than from the list maintained by the DCPU under sub-rule (1), the requirements prescribed under sub-rules (4) and (5) of this rule may be relaxed on evidence of relevant experience or formal education or training or demonstrated proof of fluency in the relevant languages by the interpreter, translator, or special educator, subject to the satisfaction of the DCPU, Special Court or other authority concerned.
(4) Interpreters and translators engaged under sub-rule (1) should have functional familiarity with language spoken by the child as well as the official language of the state, either by virtue of such language being child’s mother tongue or medium of instruction at school at least up to primary school level, or by the interpreter or translator having acquired knowledge of such language through child’s vocation, profession, or residence in the area where that language is spoken.
(5) Sign language interpreters, special educators and experts entered in the register under sub-rule(1) should have relevant qualifications in sign language or special education, or in the case of an expert, in the relevant discipline, from a recognised University or an institution recognised by the Rehabilitation Council of India.
(6) Support person may be a person or organisation working in the field of child rights or child protection, or an official of a children’s home or shelter home having custody of the child, or a person employed by the DCPU:
Provided that nothing in these rules shall prevent the child and child’s parents or guardian or other person in whom the child has trust and confidence from seeking the assistance of any person or organisation for proceedings under the Act.
(7) Payment for the services of an interpreter, translator, special educator, expert or support person whose name is enrolled in the register maintained under sub-rule (1) or otherwise, shall be made by the State Government from the Fund maintained under section 105 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 (2 of 2016), or from other funds placed at the disposal of the DCPU.
(8) Any interpreter, translator, special educator, expert or support person engaged for the purpose of assisting a child under this Act, shall be paid a fee which shall be prescribed by the State Government, but which, shall not be less than the amount prescribed for a skilled worker under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948 (11 of 1948).
(9) Any preference expressed by the child at any stage after information is received under sub-section(1) of section 19 of the Act, as to the gender of the interpreter, translator, special educator, expert or support person, may be taken into consideration, and where necessary, more than one such person may be engaged in order to facilitate communication with the child.
(10) The interpreter, translator, special educator, expert, support person or person familiar with the manner of communication of the child engaged to provide services for the purposes of the Act shall be unbiased and impartial and shall disclose any real or perceived conflict of interest and shall render a complete and accurate interpretation or translation without any additions or omissions, in accordance with section 282 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974).
(11) In proceedings under section 38, the Special Court shall ascertain whether the child speaks the language of the court adequately, and that the engagement of any interpreter, translator, special educator, expert, support person or other person familiar with the manner of communication of the child, who has been engaged to facilitate communication with the child, does not involve any conflict of interest.
(12) Any interpreter, translator, special educator, expert or support person appointed under the Act shall be bound by the rules of confidentiality, as described under section 127 read with section 126 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (1 of 1872).
6. Medical aid and care–
(1) Where an officer of the SJPU, or the local police receives information under section 19 of the Act that an offence under the Act has been committed, and is satisfied that the child against whom an offence has been committed is in need of urgent medical care and protection, such officer, or as the case may be, the local police shall, within 24 hours of receiving such information, arrange to take such child to the nearest hospital or medical care facility center for emergency medical care:
Provided that where an offence has been committed under sections 3, 5, 7 or 9 of the Act, the victim shall be referred to emergency medical care.
(2) Emergency medical care shall be rendered in such a manner as to protect the privacy of the child, and in the presence of the parent or guardian or any other person in whom the child has trust and confidence.
(3) No medical practitioner, hospital or other medical facility center rendering emergency medical care to a child shall demand any legal or magisterial requisition or other documentation as a pre-requisite to rendering such care.
(4) The registered medical practitioner rendering medical care shall attend to the needs of the child, including:
(a) treatment for cuts, bruises, and other injuries including genital injuries, if any;
(b) treatment for exposure to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including prophylaxis for identified STDs;
(c) treatment for exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), including prophylaxis for HIV after necessary consultation with infectious disease experts;
(d) possible pregnancy and emergency contraceptives should be discussed with the pubertal child and her parent or any other person in whom the child has trust and confidence; and,
(e) wherever necessary, a referral or consultation for mental or psychological health needs, or other counseling, or drug de-addiction services and programmes should be made.
(5) The registered medical practitioner shall submit the report on the condition of the child within 24 hrs to the SJPU or Local Police.
(6) Any forensic evidence collected in the course of rendering emergency medical care must be collected in accordance with section 27 of the Act.
(7) If the child is found to be pregnant, then the registered medical practitioner shall counsel the child, and her parents or guardians, or support person, regarding the various lawful options available to the child as per the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971 and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 (2 of 2016).
(8) If the child is found to have been administered any drugs or other intoxicating substances, access to drug deaddiction programme shall be ensured.
(9) If the Child is a divyang (person with disability), suitable measure and care shall be taken as per the provisions of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 (49 of 2016).
7. Legal aid and assistance–
(1) The CWC shall make a recommendation to District Legal Services Authority (hereafter referred to as “DLSA”) for legal aid and assistance.
(2) The legal aid and assistance shall be provided to the child in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 (39 of 1987).
8. Special relief–
(1) For special relief, if any, to be provided for contingencies such as food, clothes, transport and other essential needs, CWC may recommend immediate payment of such amount as it may assess to be required at that stage, to any of the following:-
(i) the DLSA under Section 357A; or;
(ii) the DCPU out of such funds placed at their disposal by state or;
(iii) funds maintained under section 105 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act,2015 (2 of 2016); (2) Such immediate payment shall be made within a week of receipt of recommendation from the CWC.
(1) The Special Court may, in appropriate cases, on its own or on an application filed by or on behalf of the child, pass an order for interim compensation to meet the needs of the child for relief or rehabilitation at any stage after registration of the First Information Report. Such interim compensation paid to the child shall be adjusted against the final compensation, if any.
(2) The Special Court may, on its own or on an application filed by or on behalf of the victim, recommend the award of compensation where the accused is convicted, or where the case ends in acquittal or discharge, or the accused is not traced or identified, and in the opinion of the Special Court the child has suffered loss or injury as a result of that offence.
(3) Where the Special Court, under sub-section (8) of section 33 of the Act read with sub-sections (2) and (3) of section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974) makes a direction for the award of compensation to the victim, it shall take into account all relevant factors relating to the loss or injury caused to the victim, including the following:-
(i) type of abuse, gravity of the offence and the severity of the mental or physical harm or injury suffered by the child;
(ii) the expenditure incurred or likely to be incurred on child’s medical treatment for physical or mental health or on both;
(iii) loss of educational opportunity as a consequence of the offence, including absence from school due to mental trauma, bodily injury, medical treatment, investigation and trial of the offence, or any other reason;
(iv) loss of employment as a result of the offence, including absence from place of employment due to mental trauma, bodily injury, medical treatment, investigation and trial of the offence, or any other reason;
(v) the relationship of the child to the offender, if any;
(vi) whether the abuse was a single isolated incidence or whether the abuse took place over a period of time;
(vii) whether the child became pregnant as a result of the offence;
(viii) whether the child contracted a sexually transmitted disease (STD) as a result of the offence;
(ix) whether the child contracted human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as a result of the offence;
(x) any disability suffered by the child as a result of the offence;
(xi) financial condition of the child against whom the offence has been committed so as to determine such child’s need for rehabilitation;
(xii) any other factor that the Special Court may consider to be relevant.
(4) The compensation awarded by the Special Court is to be paid by the State Government from the Victims Compensation Fund or other scheme or fund established by it for the purposes of compensating and rehabilitating victims under section 357A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 or any other law for the time being in force, or, where such fund or scheme does not exist, by the State Government.
(5) The State Government shall pay the compensation ordered by the Special Court within 30 days of receipt of such order.
(6) Nothing in these rules shall prevent a child or child’s parent or guardian or any other person in whom the child has trust and confidence from submitting an application for seeking relief under any other rules or scheme of the Central Government or State Government.
10. Procedure for imposition of fine and payment thereof–
(1) The CWC shall coordinate with the DLSA to ensure that any amount of fine imposed by the Special Court under the Act which is to be paid to the victim, is in fact paid to the child.
(2) The CWC will also facilitate any procedure for opening a bank account, arranging for identity proofs, etc., with the assistance of DCPU and support person.
11. Reporting of pornographic material involving a child–
(1)Any person who has received any pornographic material involving a child or any information regarding such pornographic material being stored, possessed, distributed, circulated, transmitted, facilitated, propagated or displayed, or is likely to be distributed, facilitated or transmitted in any manner shall report the contents to the SJPU or local police, or as the case may be, cyber-crime portal (cybercrime.gov.in) and upon such receipt of the report, the SJPU or local police or the cyber-crime portal take necessary action as per the directions of the Government issued from time to time.
(2) In case the “person” as mentioned in sub-rule (1) is an “intermediary” as defined in clause (w) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act,2000, such person shall in addition to reporting, as provided under sub-rule(1), also hand over the necessary material including the source from which such material may have originated to the SJPU or local police, or as the case may be, cyber-crime portal (cybercrime.gov.in) and upon such receipt of the said material, the SJPU or local police or the cyber-crime portal take necessary action as per the directions of the Government issued from time to time.
(3) The report shall include the details of the device in which such pornographic content was noticed and the suspected device from which such content was received including the platform on which the content was displayed.
(4) The Central Government and every State Government shall make all endeavors to create widespread awareness about the procedures of making such reports from time to time.
12. Monitoring of implementation of the Act–
(1) The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (hereafter referred to as “NCPCR”) or the State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (hereafter referred to as “SCPCR”), as the case may be, shall in addition to the functions assigned to them under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005 (4 of 2006), perform the following functions for implementation of the provisions of the Act––
(a) monitor the designation of Special Courts by State Governments;
(b) monitor the appointment of the Special Public Prosecutors by the State Governments;
(c) monitor the formulation of the guidelines described in section 39 of the Act by the State Governments, for the use of non-governmental organisations, professionals and experts or persons having knowledge of psychology, social work, physical health, mental health and child development to be associated with the pre-trial and trial stage to assist the child, and to monitor the application of these guidelines;
(d) monitor the designing and implementation of modules for training police personnel and other concerned persons, including officers of the Centre and State Governments, for the effective discharge of their functions under the Act;
(e) monitor and support the Central Government and State Governments for the dissemination of information relating to the provisions of the Act through media including the television, radio and print media at regular intervals, so as to make the general public, children as well as their parents and guardians aware of the provisions of the Act.
(f) call for a report on any specific case of child sexual abuse falling within the jurisdiction of a CWC.
(g) collect information and data on its own or from the relevant agencies regarding reported cases of sexual abuse and their disposal under the processes provided under the Act, including information on the following:-
(i) number and details of offences reported under the Act;
(ii) whether the procedures prescribed under the Act and rules were followed, including those regarding timeframes;
(iii) details of arrangements for care and protection of victims of offences under this Act, including arrangements for emergency medical care and medical examination; and,
(iv) details regarding assessment of the need for care and protection of a child by the concerned CWC in any specific case;
(h) use the information so collected to assess the implementation of the provisions of the Act. The report on monitoring of the Act shall be included in a separate chapter in the annual report of the NCPCR or the SCPCR.
(2) The concerned authorities mandated to collect data, under the Act, shall share such data with the Central Government and every State Government, NCPCR and SCPCRs.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Rules, 2012 are hereby repealed, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before such repeal.