Legal Counselling

1 out of 2 children are sexually abused in India. It is not uncommon in CSA for the abuser to be someone known to the survivor. 50% of  Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) cases go unreported. In spite of the fact that as per the law, it is a person’s legal obligation to mandatorily report CSA if known, witnessed or undergone. If justice is every individual’s responsibility, then accountabilities to bridge the gap between survivors and legal justice lie with the people. The purpose of Legal Counselling is to disseminate information about the available legal recourse, making it easier to seek redressal for violation of rights, and enable higher number of cases to get reported without fear of consequence from family or society.

You are responsible for practising your rights.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is Legal Counselling?

Legal Counselling is a discussion forum with lawyers, where Rakshins can learn about their rights and understand the legal framework around the experience of CSA. Counselling Lawyers can support the survivors to process their experiences in a non-intrusive manner and provide an understanding about the legal provisions for those who disclose. Legal Counselling can also offer assistance with information about mechanisms that can be accessed to prevent child sexual abuse.

What can I expect from the Legal Counselling Session?

Legal Counselling provides a safe and trustworthy environment for Rakshins to learn about their rights. The session will provide requisite information and advice to the concerned persons about legal options available for protecting the interests of the person who has undergone child sexual abuse. It can also assist the concerned in making a decision regarding various options available to pursue the case and if required help in formulation of complaints, petitions, etc.

After the legal counselling session, can I access free legal aid?

If you are a survivor of CSA, then free legal aid Under Section 12(c) of the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987, is available to every child who has to file or defend a case. Moreover, the POCSO Act, 2012 confirms the right to free legal aid under Section 40, providing that the child or his/her family shall be entitled to a legal counsel of their choice, and that where they are unable to afford such counsel, they shall be entitled to receive one from the Legal Services Authority.

Courts can be a scary place, especially for someone who has gone through child sexual abuse.

The POCSO Act provides for child-friendly pre-trial and trial procedures to minimise the trauma felt by child victims and to eliminate the possibility of re-victimisation at the time of trial. The child-friendly procedures during the trial are to be followed by the Special Courts set up under Section 28(1) to try offences under the Act. They aim to ensure that the child is protected from intimidation, whether intentional or not. All legal representatives, whether representing the accused or the child, must be aware of these provisions. Given the particular vulnerabilities of children, additional measures should also be made available and utilised even in normal circumstances. The child-friendly trial provisions are detailed in Section 33 – 38 of the POCSO Act.

Can someone else on behalf of the child seek legal counselling?

Governmental and non-governmental organisations, civil society organisations, voluntary organisations, parents, relatives, concerned friends and members of the public may, on behalf of the child in need of care & protection, receive legal advice regarding the legal rights of the child and the means for accessing those rights.

Is helping someone commit a sexual crime against a child punishable?

Abetment is the aiding of someone in committing a crime. Abetment of any sexual crime as given under this Act carry the same liability as actually performing the criminal act.

Am I liable to report a case of child sexual abuse if I know about it?

Yes. Under this Act, a person is also liable to be held guilty if they fail to report a case when they know a case of child sexual abuse has been or may have been committed. The punishment is a fine or a jail term of up to 6 months or both.

If a child knows about CSA, but does not report, can they be punished?

While children can also report such cases that they may know of, they cannot be punished for not reporting such a crime.

If an employer knows about an employee perpetrating child sexual abuse, then what is the employer’s liability?

If an employer having cause to believe an employee could have been committing an act of child sexual abuse does not report such an act, they can be punished with a jail term of upto 1 year and a fine.

What is the role of the Child Welfare Committee?

The police must report the cases of child sexual abuse to the special courts and the child welfare committee within 24 hours. The CWC undertakes further action for relocation, care and protection of the child.

What is Legal Counselling?

Legal Counselling is a discussion forum with lawyers, where Rakshins can learn about their rights and understand the legal framework around the experience of CSA. Counselling Lawyers can support the survivors to process their experiences in a non-intrusive manner and provide an understanding about the legal provisions for those who disclose. Legal Counselling can also offer assistance with information about mechanisms that can be accessed to prevent child sexual abuse.

What if the sexual act involving the child is consensual?

Child’s consent for a sexual act has no bearing under the POCSO Act. Legal age for consent is 18years and above.

Can I take a legal counselling session even though I am not a survivor?

You do not have to be a survivor to consult our lawyers. Neither do you have to be in crisis or on the verge of one before choosing to come to our lawyers. We encourage you to seek legal counselling to learn about your rights as a responsible citizen.

Do I have to pay for the legal counselling session? What if I can’t afford them?

The first session, is free of cost for all Rakshins. You can avail your free session by logging into your account and submitting a request for Legal Counselling . Subsequent sessions will be offered at a subsidized rate for all Rakshins.

How long do I have to wait for an appointment?

Our aim is to assign you a Lawyer and offer you your first appointment within 1-2 weeks of submission of your completed form. However, waiting times will vary according to availability of Lawyer, your own availability and the service you seek.

AVAIL A FREE LEGAL COUNSELLING SESSION

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