New Delhi: The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which was passed by the Lok Sabha on Tuesday puts in place several children friendly measures to be followed during investigation and trial of cases pertaining to child sex abuse.
In cases of heinous sexual offences against children, the new legislation shifts the burden of proof on the accused, the Women and Child Development Ministry, which got the legislation passed, said in a statement on Tuesday.
"For the more heinous offences of Penetrative Sexual Assault, Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault, Sexual Assault and Aggravated Sexual Assault, the burden of proof is shifted on the accused," the ministry said in a statement spelling out the features of the new legislation.
"This provision has been made keeping in view the greater vulnerability and innocence of children," the statement added.
As per the other child friendly procedures under the new law, the recording of statement of the victim has to be done at the residence of the child or at the place of his choice, preferably by a woman police officer not below the rank of a sub-inspector.
As per the legislation no child will be detained at the police station in the night for any reason. It also says that the police officer concerned should not be in a uniform while recording the statement of the child, the ministry said.
According to the new legislation, the statement of the child should be recorded as spoken by the child with the assistance of an interpreter or translator or an expert as per the need of the child.
Medical examination of the child should be conducted in the presence of the parent of the child or any other person in whom the child has trust or confidence. In case the victim is a girl child, the medical examination shall be conducted by a woman doctor, the WCD statement said.
The law also stipulates frequent breaks for the child during the trial. The child cannot be called repeatedly to testify and aggressive questioning or character assassination of the child is not allowed.