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    Access to justice and sexual violence against children in India: an empirical study of the reforms under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act 2012

    Kumar, Shailesh (2023) Access to justice and sexual violence against children in India: an empirical study of the reforms under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act 2012. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    Abstract

    This thesis is an empirical socio-legal work examining the experiences and perceptions of key stakeholders of the reforms under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act 2012 in India. It is special legislation dealing with the cases of sexual offences against children, i.e., people under 18 years of age. The goals of the law are speedy trial of the POCSO cases and providing child friendly procedures and spaces to child victims during the criminal process. This law is unique for being gender neutral. Any person can be a victim or perpetrator under this legislation irrespective of their gender, unlike in the rape provisions of the Indian Penal Code 1860. There is scant academic literature on the operation of the POCSO reforms from an access to justice approach, a void which this project aspires to fill. The thesis investigates the implications of the POCSO reforms on the access to justice for both child victims and accused. The project has employed qualitative methods of interview and observation. It is based on a 6-months fieldwork conducted in 2019-20 at Bihar (a north Indian state) and Delhi (India’s capital city). In-depth semi-structured interviews of 49 stakeholders and observations of the special courts and trials of the POCSO cases were conducted. These key stakeholders consist of: special judges, judicial magistrates, special public prosecutors, defence counsels, NGO lawyers, police personnel, and court staff members. The two sites and the interviewees were selected and recruited respectively using the purposive and opportunistic sampling techniques. The data was analysed by a thematic approach. The analysis produced important and interesting findings on stakeholder perceptions of the aims of the POCSO reforms and access to justice, implementation of the POCSO law, and the implications of the socio-legal culture and institutions on the operation of the POCSO reforms.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2023 10:11
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 16:03
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/50678
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.18743/PUB.00050678

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