Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has introduced a Central sector project, Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children (CCPWC) Scheme with an outlay of Rs.195.83 for the next three years beginning current financial year 2017-18. The Scheme will be financed from the Nirbhaya Fund.
The scheme envisages creation of Online Cyber Crime Reporting Platform, National Cyber Forensic Laboratory, Research and Development for new tools, training, capacity building, etc. Under the Scheme, 36 Cyber Forensic Training Centres will be established across the country in all States and Union Territories. Besides, 40,500 police officers will be trained all over India. An R & D Centre, being set up, will find and evolve cyber crime prevention technologies.
It is a matter of anguish that there has been severe under-reporting of crimes relating to online harassment of women and child sex abuse in the country. Firstly, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) does not maintain any separate record of cyber crimes against children. Secondly, whatever data is collected by NCRB presently, however rudimentary it may be, provides an insight into the state of law enforcement in the country as it is unbelievable that in most of the States there is no incidence of online child sex abuse. The data indicates extremely poor law enforcement in relation to these crimes as it only collects information of reported cases and it fails to give reflection to true prevalence rate of such crimes. It does not capture actual number of incidents.
Law enforcement agencies need to be sensitized of the challenging aspects of cyber crimes against children and their capacity to record and initiate action against such crimes needs to be strengthened urgently. According to the MHA, from this year 2017, NCRB will collate all the instances of online child sex abuse and other cyber crimes against children under a separate category so that performance of law enforcement agencies in this regard could be discerned and observed properly.
Child sexual abuse and related crimes remain overwhelmingly under-reported due to associated stigma and propensity of parents/guardians to not involve police in such matters. Added to this, process of reporting such crimes needs to be simplified and identity of children involved protected to ensure such crimes do not go unreported.
In this connection, MHA is contemplating to enhance capacities of police forces and cyber forensic laboratories, simplify and strengthen cyber crime investigation involving children. Union Government in the MHA is also in the process of advising all States and Union Territories to create an online Cyber Crime Reporting Platform under the Cyber Crime Prevention against Women and Children Scheme and publicise it adequately through print, electronic and social media to encourage reporting of such crimes. MHA is also considering a proposal to provide adequate funds for this Scheme to succeed under the Modernisation of Police Forces Scheme!