Concerned by various independent reports that a significant percentage of children face one or more instances of sexual harassment in their life time, which in most cases go unreported, Minister for Woman and Child Development Maneka Gandhi has introduced a POCSO e-box to facilitate juvenile victims to report sexual violence while maintaining their privacy.
The e-Box is an online complaint management system under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act which was introduced in 2012 by the then UPA 2 government to protect children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while also ensuring that the judicial process incorporates child friendly mechanism at every stage—right from reporting of the crime, to recording of evidence, investigation and trial.
The newly introduced e-Box can be found in the home page of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) website (http://ncpcr.gov.in/). When the user clicks on the POCSO e-Box button, the page navigates to a new page in which an animation movie is played counselling the child that the NCPCR will help her/him and there is no need to feel ashamed at what has happened. When the user presses the arrow on this page, she/he is taken to another page where they need to describe the category of harassment by selecting a picture from several options. The victim is then required to fill a form briefing about her/his mobile number, e-mail and submit it. The complainant then gets an auto-generated complaint number as confirmation.
Emphasising on the need to have online complaint system for reporting sexual violence against children, Maneka Gandhi has said that a large number of such offences are perpetrated by a member of the family/close relative and/or acquaintances, which is why they get pushed under the carpet. She expressed the hope that the new provision will enable more people to come out of the closet and report sexual violence.
The minister said she got the idea of the e-Box complaint system from provisions in schools, where physical drop boxes are in place to register complaints. She said that the e-Box will make it possible to implement it on a large scale throughout the country.
Minister of State for Women and Child Development Krishna Raj has asserted that in order to make more and more children come out with their suffering, the ministry will take necessary steps to generate awareness about the e-Box.