In certain cases, POCSO provisions have also been extended to commercial child sexual abuse and child prostitution.

Types of Child Sexual Abuse

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022

Portfolio Keyphrase: Sexual Abuse of Children

Tags: Abuse, Violence, Crime, Children, Explainer

[Trigger Warning: The following content contains information on sexual and physical violence which some readers may find disturbing.]

Indian law classifies types of child sexual abuse into different types of crimes, regardless of the child’s gender . Given below are some of the punishable crimes:

Non-Physical Behaviour

  • Any non-physical sexual behaviour through gestures, speech, and visuals. For example, gesturing to a child’s private parts or showing naked pictures1
  • Any act related to child pornography, including its creation, distribution, transmission, publication, etc.2
  • Administering any drug, hormone or any chemical substance to a child so that the child attains early sexual maturity.3

Physical Behaviour

Attempt of sexual abuse

If a person tries to commit6 any sexual crime against a child, this is also a crime. It does not matter if the offender fails to actually commit  the crime , the attempt itself will hold them liable.

Further, the law also makes a distinction based on the person committing the offence. For example, if any sexual abuse done by a person in a position of trust or authority to the child like a teacher or police officer, the punishment is higher.7 The law defines these kinds of abuse as “aggravated” to highlight the fiduciary relationship between the harasser and the child. Read more in our explainer here.

  1. Section 11, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.[]
  2. Section 13, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.[]
  3. Section 9(v), The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Act, 2019.[]
  4. Section 7, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; Section 9, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.[]
  5. Section 3, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; Section 5, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.[]
  6. Section 18, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.[]
  7. Section 5, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; Section 9, The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.[]

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