Define under-18’s as children: Ministry

New Delhi, July 23 (Calcutta Tube) Against the backdrop of a law being drafted for preventing offences against children, the women and child development ministry Friday pitched for adopting 18 years as the standard age for defining a child.

The Prevention of Offences against the Child Bill, which is presently undergoing inter-ministerial consultations, defines 18 years as the upper age bracket for a child.

However, the labour ministry defines a child as being below 14 years of age.

‘We will talk to the labour ministry and sort out the issue. According to us, anyone under 18 years of age is a child,’ Tirath said.

The bill identifies sexual harassment, trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, economic exploitation and child labour among a wide range of punishable offences against children.

According to a study done by the government in 2007, 53 percent of an estimated 420 million children below 18 years of age had undergone some form of sexual victimisation, irrespective of class, caste, religion, educational background, income and ethnic origin.

The National Crime Records Bureau indicates that rape is the second highest reported crime against children in India.

According to official sources, the bill is likely to be presented in the winter session of the parliament.

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