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Child abuse refers to a situation in which a parent or guardian, regardless of whether by action or neglecting to act causes injury, emotional harm, death or risk of any serious harm to a child.
Child abuse can occur in many ways like:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Child neglect
  • Emotional abuse

More than 19% of the world’s children reside in India, making it the nation with the largest child population in the world. The country therefore provides its youngsters with a large sum of rights, ranging from fundamental to legal, and also providing immense importance to children while formulating policies and schemes for their protection, development and care.
Regardless of the actions taken by the government, the number of cases enrolled for child abuse in India increased from 8,904 in 2014 to 106,958 in the year 2016, as per the POCSO Act. Kidnapping and sexual offences represent 81% of the crimes against minors. In India, a child is being sexually abused every fifteen minutes as per the latest government figures. Reports says that the greatest number of abusers are people who are known to the victims, like relatives, parents, schoolteacher etc.
The various policies and programmes that has been initiated in order to prevent child abuse in India are as follows:
  1. National Policy for Children 1974 – it is the policy which was launched by the government first, which was purely child centric and focussed on protecting, caring and developing the children
  2. National Policy on Education 1986 – it emphasizes on maintaining equality in the domain of educational opportunity
  3. National Policy on Child Labour 1987 – it is a policy to strictly execute the provisions of the constitution relating to prohibition of child labour and works towards betterment of the working conditions of children
  4. National Plan of Action for Children 2005 – it aims to overcome various problems that a child face. It includes prohibition of child marriage, female infanticide and secures the rights of children in complex situations like exploitation, abuse and neglect
  5. Child-line Services – launched by government after the 25-year plan to assist children in case of emergencies. It is run by Childline India Foundation
  6. National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development – it is the organisation which is involved in the documentation and collection of research and initiatives that are related to women and development of child
Various strategies that can be undertaken to prevent the increasing child abuse rate is to strengthen financial aid to families, providing quality education at an early age itself, improving parenting skills in order to develop a healthy child, intervene and report as and when required so that the rate of harm will be lowered and future risks can be prevented, conducting awareness programmes with regard to child abuse and violence etc.
The development of a child, both physically as well as mentally is quite crucial for the development of a country. Hence if children are more prone to various types of abuse, then they will be harmed mentally and physically which leads to mental imbalance and depression within children which is vulnerable for the development of a nation. So, it should be our priority to prevent child abuse rates in our country.