5‑Year‑Old Child Knows What a ‘Bad Touch’ Is, Should Be Believed, Special POCSO Court Says
A special Mumbai-based Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) court denied bail to an individual accused of molesting a five-year-old child, stating that children know the difference between a good touch and a bad touch. The court sided with the child, paving the way for victims to be believed, no matter their gender or age. The order was passed on February 6 and made public on Tuesday.
The court observed, “The victim being a small girl, it cannot be said that she is not aware about good touch or bad touch…I find that the nature of accusations is serious and the applicant is alleged to have committed aggravated sexual assault.”
The defense counsel for the case argued that the victim would visit the accused individual’s house, which meant it couldn’t be said that the accused’s touch was a ‘bad touch.’ The prosecution for the case, in return, argued that the child was aware of the difference between good touch and bad touch because her statement had specifically mentioned her discomfort. The child stated that the accused had kissed her and touched her on her chest during a visit. He has been charged under the Indian Penal Code Section 354 (molestation) and relevant provisions of the POCSO Act.
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Research states that children are capable of understanding the difference between good touch and bad touch between ages 3-5, but parents often wait too long to have that conversation. The urgency of having the conversation early is further highlighted by statistics that show that most perpetrators of child sexual abuse are known to the victim.
This judgment comes as a relief amid previous controversial POCSO-judgments in January that acquitted the accused after citing restrictive readings of the law like “skin-to-skin contact” was required to convict for sexual assault. The Supreme Court has, as of now, stayed this judgment.
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