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Child sexual abuse law in Nepal: What are offences? What are punishments?

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A month ago, the country celebrated National Children’s Day with an aim to protect children from different forms of abuse. However, various studies have shown that cases of violence against children have been continuing at an alarming rate. On average, 10 cases of violence against children were recorded on a daily basis in the first six months of this year, according to the Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Centre. Of them, many were cases of child sexual abuse.

In 2018, the parliament had enacted a separate law focusing on the rights of children. Here are the rights of children, in particular provisions about child sexual abuse, as mentioned in the Act Relating to the Children, 2018.

Offences against a child

The below-mentioned acts are considered an offence against a child.

  1. To involve the child in addictions such as smoking, drinking or gambling
  2. To allow him or her to enter to, or use him or her in, recreational facilities opened for the adults such as dance bars and casinos
  3. To show him or her motion pictures or other audio-visual materials classified as for the adults only
  4. To inflict physical or mental punishment on, or behave with him or her in an undignified manner, whether at home, school or any other place,
  5. To inflict physical injuries or effect to, terrorise or intimidate, humiliate, neglect, discriminate, exclude or hate, isolate, or cause mental torture to, him or her
  6. To harass, cause pain to, him or her by using electronic or other means
  7. To organise him or her for the political purpose or use him or her in a strike, shutdown, transportation strike, sit-ins or rally
  8. To keep him or her in illegal confinement, detention, prison or house arrest, handcuff him or her
  9. To treat him or her in a cruel or inhumane manner or torture him or her
  10. To cause him or her to beg or disguise as an ascetic, monk or mendicant, except for the tradition, custom or any religious or cultural activity
  11. To forcibly declare, or register him or her, as an orphan
  12. To offer or dedicate him or her in the pretext of a pledge, religious or any other purpose, or subject him or her to violence, discrimination, neglect or exclusion or mockery in the pretext of the custom, culture or ritual
  13. To engage him or her in a magic or circus show
  14. To teach or train him or her to commit any offense or involve him or her in such an offense
  15. To fix his or her marriage, or marry, or cause to marry, him or her
  16. To remove any organ of him or her in contravention of the prevailing law
  17. To use him or her for medical or any other experiment
  18. To keep him or her in a children’s home, except in accordance with law

Child sexual abuse

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The below-mentioned acts are considered as an act of child abuse:

  1. To show, or cause to show, him or her an obscene picture, audiovisual recording or other material of similar kind or display, or cause to display, such expression or gesture that reflects obscene or sexual conduct or behavior to him or her or display, or cause to display, child pornography
  2. To distribute, store or use any actual or fictitious obscene picture or audio-visual material of him or her
  3. To propose, lure, coerce or threaten him or her for sexual activity
  4. To use him or her in the production of an obscene act and material
  5. To touch, kiss, hold sensitive parts of the body of him or her, embrace him or her with sexual intent or cause him or her to touch or hold sensitive parts of own body or body of another person or render him or her unconscious with sexual intent or display, or cause him or her to display sexual organs
  6. To use, or cause to use, him or her for stimulating sexual lust or sexual excitement
  7. To use, or cause to use, him or her for the purpose of sexual gratification
  8. To engage, or cause to engage, in child sexual exploitation
  9. To use, or cause to use, him or her with the intent of providing sexual services
  10. To use, or cause to use, him or her with the intent of engaging in sexual abuse
  11. To use him or her in prostitution or other sexual work

However, anything that is expressed by means of writing, speaking, gesturing or displaying any word, picture, audio, visual means and object or material on a sex-related matter without displaying obscenity with the aim of imparting information and education or an act done in good faith in the course of making treatment of the child or saving the child from an accident or risk shall not be deemed to constitute an act of sexual abuse.

Punishment for child sexual abuse

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  1. In the case of the commission of any act referred to in points 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, or 10 above, a fine of up to Rs 75,000 and imprisonment for up to three years
  2. In the case of the commission of any act in point 4, a fine of up to Rs 80,000, and imprisonment for up to four years
  3. In cthe ase of an act as per points 7 or 8 above, the punishment that is imposable on the offender of rape under the prevailing law
  4. In the case of the commission of any act as mentioned in points 9 or 11 abuse, a fine of up to Rs 150,000 and imprisonment for up to 15 years.

Further, a person who incites another person, attempts or abets to commit any of the aforementioned acts shall be liable to the punishment of fine and imprisonment imposable on the principal offender.

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Regmi is an advocate associated with Associates Hub Law Firm.

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