The child abuse cases filed against parents are now under the spotlight again with the Child Abuse Compensation Scheme (CACS) in effect.
The scheme is a mandatory compensation scheme that entitles the child to compensation for their parents.
It is a major reason why so many children are victims of violence, sexual abuse, and neglect.
The scheme was introduced in March last year.
Its aim is to help the families of children abused by their parents in order to prevent their parents from continuing to abuse them.
In its initial form, it only applies to children aged between 1 and 12 years.
Now, as of January 1, the CACS is expected to cover up to a total of 12,857 cases filed by families against their parents, with a further 8,076 pending.
In a nutshell, the compensation scheme covers cases filed up to January 1 last year, and cases pending before the courts till January 1 2019.
As per the CACA, the amount of compensation is Rs 5 lakh.
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CACs have been around for a long time.
In January 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the compensation to be paid to parents is based on the amount the parents allegedly stole from the child.
It has also been mandatory for the families to give back the child’s property, such as clothes, toys, and jewellery.
Since the scheme was implemented in March 2017, the number of cases filed has risen by almost two lakh.
The latest figures show that of the 12,637 cases filed between January 1 and February 15, the scheme has already paid Rs 5.1 crore to the victims.
Since its inception, the Child Act has been the sole statutory mechanism to address the root causes of child abuse.
In order to protect children from abuse, the act mandates the compensation of up to Rs 10 lakh per incident.
Despite the increased numbers of cases, child welfare activists say the legislation has failed to address many of the underlying causes of violence and neglect against children.
“I feel helpless, helpless when the compensation is not paid and I am also not allowed to pursue a case against my parents,” said a 25-year-old mother from Haryana who was beaten up and raped by her husband, who was a child protection officer in her family.
Child abuse is a crime in India and it is a problem that needs to be addressed, said Satish Kaur, director of the Child Rights Action Centre (CRAC).
“We need to find a way of putting an end to the child abuse situation, especially when children are the most vulnerable,” she said.
Kaur, who is also a lawyer, said the compensation schemes do not adequately address the underlying issues of violence against children, and children are often denied justice.
When a family is denied justice, a child becomes an easy target.
This is why we need a law that will give children a redress of justice and help them get justice,” she added.
One of the main concerns in child abuse compensation is the fact that child abuse victims do not receive any legal redress from the government.
India’s Supreme Court has held that the law is not applicable to cases filed in courts.
On January 1 this year, the government launched the Child Welfare and Protection Bill, 2016, which is expected soon to be passed in the Parliament.
The bill has been met with opposition and opposition MPs have proposed amendments to it.
According to the Bill, the children can be compensated only if they have been “severely injured, seriously traumatised or deprived of their liberty” and the compensation will be based on “the seriousness of the injury, the severity of the injuries, the deprivation of liberty, the extent of the deprivation, and the degree of mental impairment of the child”.
The proposed amendments include changing the definition of the term “severe injury”, which was previously used to include physical abuse and neglect and also mental anguish.
The Bill is likely to come into effect on February 1.
However, the Bill has been opposed by the NGO Child Rights Law (CLL) which has also demanded that the government introduce legislation to ensure the rights of children in cases of child sexual abuse.
According to CLL, the bill is not in line with the Bill of Rights and that children who are victims are not entitled to compensation.
The Child Rights Act does not provide for any compensation to the family for physical abuse, nor to the parents for the emotional distress caused to the victim.
The law, which was introduced by the former Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, states that child sexual offences are not a crime but a “public nuisance”.
It also states that the child cannot be taken for sexual gratification or the child will be taken from them.
However, there is no mention of physical abuse