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i. Curtailed Access: Of the relatively few cases of child sexual abuse that are reported to the police, an even smaller proportion ever makes it through the justice system. Access to justice remains a big challenge in service provision chain. Many parents and caregivers, especially those with little access to resources, are dissuaded by the logistics and bureaucracy associated with negotiating POCSO courts.
ii. Justice Delayed: The special designated POCSO courts were constituted with explicitly to "provide a speedy trial" for child sexual abuse cases. In fact, section 35 (2) of the Act, stipulates a period of one year from the date of taking cognisance of the incident, for the court to dispose off with the case.
Unfortunately, even cursory data on case disposal reported by the government, paints a discouraging picture of how well this intention has been actualized. Of the 6,816 alleged perpetrators booked under the POCSO Act, only 166 convictions have been made, while 389 accused have been acquitted. The conviction rate under the act, therefore, is a paltry 2.4%.
The tragic corollary to this is that pendency rates for child rape cases have actually increased from 20594 in 2010 to 37519 in 2014 - a massive increase of about 84% This pendency persists in the face of increased reporting. While the judicial process dawdles along, eight cases of child sexual abuse continue to be reported everyday. The number of registered child rapes rose 151% from 5,484 in 2009 to 13,766 in 2014.