Though the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 equipped a state to deal effectively with cases of child sexual abuse, there seemed to be limited awareness about it provisions.
"There is limited awareness about the Act. Sexual violations are often invisible, under-recognised and under reported. While some progress has been made, many children continue to suffer," UNICEF's S N Dave said at a discussion here.
"In some cases we find that the police are not booking culprits under the act for lack of awareness. There has been some reported cases of non-cooperation from courts as well," Roshni Sen, secretary of the state department of women, child development and social welfare (DWCD), said.
According to a 2007 study on child abuse by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, 20.9 per cent children in the country faced sexual abuse, while the corresponding figure was 17.2 per cent in West Bengal.
Research showed that incidents of child sexual abuse were on the rise in India with very few convictions in cases which were reported.
West Bengal WCD minister Dr Sashi Panja said awareness of various provisions of the law was important as it made even abetting such sexual crime an offence and put the onus on offenders to prove themselves innocent.
She said that the government would soon establish special courts to handle such cases.