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  • What is Sex Crime?
  • What are Sex Crime Laws?
  • What are the Laws governing Sex Crime?
  • Where to Report the Incident of Sex Crime?
  • What are the Punishment for Sex Crimes?

What is Sex Crime?

Sex crimes refer to criminal offenses of a sexual nature. Commonly known sex crimes include, rape, child molestation, sexual battery, lewd conduct, possession and distribution of child pornography, possession and distribution of obscene material, prostitution, solicitation of prostitution, pimping, pandering, indecent exposure, lewd act with a child, and penetration of the genital or anal region by a foreign Object.

What are Sex Crime Laws?

Sex crime laws deals with the regulation by law of human sexual activity. Sex laws vary from one place or jurisdiction to another, and have varied over time, and unlawful sexual acts are also called sex crimes.

Some laws regulating sexual activity are intended to protect one or all participants, while others are intended to proscribe behaviour that has been defined as a crime. For example, a law may proscribe unprotected sex if one person knows that he or she has a sexual disease or to protect a minor; or it may proscribe non-consensual sex, or because of a relationship between the participants, etc. In general, laws may proscribe acts which are considered either sexual abuse or behaviour that societies consider to be inappropriate and against the social norms. Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual contact between two or more adults or two or more minors, and, depending on laws with regard to age of consent, sexual contact between an adult and a minor.

The governing laws of Sex Crimes in India-

  • Indian Penal Code
  • The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1987
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013
  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO Act) 2012

Features of Laws related to sexual crimes in India:

  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 introduced certain new offences like-
    • Sexual Harassment was recognised under Section 354A of the IPC
    • Section 354B of IPC recognised an intentional act for disrobing a woman as a crime
    • Section 354C of IPC spoke about Voyeurism as an offence
    • Section 354D of IPC recognised the offence of Stalking
  • Apex Court in case of ‘State of Maharashtra v. Madhukar N. Mardikar’ observed that the ‘un-chastity of a woman does not make her open to any and every person to violate her person as and when he wishes. She is entitled to protect her person if there’s an attempt to violate her person against her wish. She’s entitled to protection of law, and the mere possibility of her being of an easy virtue does not imply that her evidence can be thrown overboard.’
  • Marital Rape is not a recognised offence in India
  • Section 7 & 11 of the POSCO act define Sexual Assault and Sexual harassment respectively. Law makes the reporting a child’s sexual abuse an essential act under Section 19(1). There is also the scope of in camera proceedings for POSCO cases.
  • As per the case of ‘Om Prakash v. Dil Bahar, 2006’, a person accused of rape can be convicted solely on the basis of the victim’s evidence despite the medical evidence not proving rape.
  • Nirbhaya Case widened the interpretation of rape beyond the traditional penile penetration, it observed that the penetration of any orifice of the woman with any part of the man’s body or with any object will come under an act of rape.

Where to Report about Sex Crime-

In case of Sex Crime at workplace complaints are to be made before an ‘Internal Complaints Committee’ to be set up by an employer in every workplace which would look into matters pertaining to complaints of harassment. There is also the functioning of a ‘Local Complaints Committee’ set up by the district officer for organisations that do not have an ‘Internal Complaints Committee’ due to having less than ten workers, for purposes of looking into complaints of sexual harassment at workplaces.

But mostly sex crimes are to be complain made before the police in the police station nearby the crime committed.

Punishment for Sex Crime-

Rape- Imprisonment not less than 10 years which may extend to Life.

Sexual Harassment- Rigorous imprisonment which may extend to 3years or fine or both.

Use of criminal force to woman with intent to disrobe- Imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years but which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine.

Voyeurism- Imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than three years, but which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine.

Stalking- Whoever commits the offence of stalking shall be punished on first conviction with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine; and be punished on a second or subsequent conviction, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years and shall also be liable to fine.'.

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