Crime, India, Stories

Data: Between 2014 & 2022, Number of Crimes Against Children Increased by Over 80%, Increase Observed in Most States


Data from the CII reports of NCRB shows that the number of crimes against children increased by over 80% between 2014 & 2022. Further, 25 of the 29 states also registered an increase in crimes against children. This increase was not limited to urban areas alone.

A ‘Child’ under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) is defined as a person who is below 18 years of age. The same definition of a child is also given in United Nations Convention on Child Rights (UNCCR). One of the principal reasons behind defining a person as an adult or a child by the age of 18 is the difference in their mental status or capability.

Expanding on the mental capability of children, Article 2 of the United Nations World Declaration on Survival, Protection and Development (WDSPD) notes that Children are innocent, dependent, full of hope and vulnerable. Their time should be of joy, peace, learning and growing, shaping their future into harmony and cooperation. Similarly, Article 27 (1) of UNCCR, 1992, ratified by about 196 states, including India, states that the state parties recognize the “right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development”. In other words, these legislative systems recognize the fundamental reality of a helpless state and the full dependency of children on parents, elders, and the society at large to protect, nurture, develop and provide them with a bright future.

However, the data on crimes committed against children shows a contrasting picture. The recently published peer-reviewed PMC journal based on the review of 112 reports from 96 countries on the violence committed against children shows that in the year 2022, an estimated over 1 billion children in the age group of 2 to 17 years across the globe have experienced violence against them. It goes on to mention that a minimum of 50% or more of children in Asia, Africa, and Northern America experienced past-year violence. 

The situation is no different in India, as indicated by the data published by the National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) which shows a continuing trend of rising violence and crimes committed against children.

In this story, we look at the growing number of crimes committed against children in the past decade in India.


The data has been sourced from the Collection of Datasets on Crimes Against Children made by Dataful from NCRB reports. The same data is used for analysis in this story.

Limitations to the Data Recorded by NCRB

The NCRB’s yearly reports on crimes in India state that the data published in them is the compilation of data on crime cases recorded by Police. Therefore, the crime data provided by NCRB is only of the crimes that have been recorded, but not all incidents of actual crimes committed against children. 

Further, the NCRB follows the method of the ‘Principal Offence Rule’ in recording crimes. This means that even if several different types of crimes committed against children are recorded in a single FIR (multiple sections of the penal code), only the most heinous crime (maximum punishment) among these crimes is taken as a single unit and all offences are counted as one single offence for the purpose of NCRB reports. 

For the above reasons, the number of crimes recorded by NCRB may not represent the actual number of crimes committed against Children in India. 

Data shows increase in number of Crimes

The analysis of NCRB data compiled by Dataful shows that from the year 2014 to 2022, there has been a steady increase in the number of crimes against children in India. 

Data shows that from the year 2014 to 2022, there has been a steady increase in the number of crimes committed against children every year, except the year 2020, which was hit by COVID-19. The number of crimes against children shows a steep increase from 89,423 in 2014 to 1,62,449 in 2022, an increase of 81% in nine years.  

Apart from the NCRB, even the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the dedicated body set up to ensure the welfare of Children, in its recent report also notes that “cases of crime against children/child rights violation have been increasing expeditiously, which is horrifying and a threat to the future of our country.” Further, the Supreme Court of India particularly noted the trends in the rise of the number of rapes committed against Children in its suo motu petition. In other words, all these bodies have taken note of the increase in crimes against children.

25 out of 29 states have witnessed rise in Crimes

The data also shows that 25 of the 29 states in India have reported an increase in the number of crimes committed against children during the years between 2014 and 2022. The data does not indicate a rise in the number of crimes only in states of any particular region. Most states in almost all regions of the country have reported an increase in the number of crimes committed against children. 

Data shows that only 4 states viz. Goa, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura have reported fewer crimes against children in 2022 when compared to 2014. 

Further analysis of the data also shows that from the year 2016 to 2022, there are 9 states viz. Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Rajasthan reported over 5% each of the overall number of crimes committed against children in India. Among these states, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh have each reported over 10% of crimes committed against children in India for all 7 years from 2016 to 2022. 

Data does not indicate increase in Crimes only in Cities

As part of the reporting crimes against children, the NCRB also publishes separate data on the number of crimes against children in about 53 cities of 18 states in India with over 2 million population. The comparison of the overall number of crimes committed against children in India and the contribution of monitored cities in each state shows both the increasing and decreasing trends of the share of crimes against children in these cities. 

Data for the years 2014 and 2021 shows that while 11 states of monitored cities have shown a decrease, 7 states have shown an increase in the percentage share of such crimes in monitored cities. 

Hence, it can be concluded that the crimes against Children are increasing not only in Urban areas but even in rural areas. The number of cities monitored and the varying figures in data show that while cities of some of the states have witnessed a decline, cities of other states have witnessed an increase in the number of crimes. Even the data of the national capital Delhi shows that the number of crimes against children has decreased from 9,350 in 2014 to 7,468 in 2022. 

Crimes against Children is a Major Cause of Concern, India needs Efficient Systems in Place

The former South African President Nelson Mandela once famously said, ‘There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children”. The crime in any form and any number against the most vulnerable sections of the society, the Children, reflects the sad state of well-being of not only the children but also the society as a whole. 

In India, as mentioned earlier, multiple agencies have noted this increase in crimes against children. The numbers call for immediate and exhaustive measures that are focused primarily on the prevention of the number of crimes committed against children. It is pertinent to note that the Supreme Court of India in its Suo Motu petition has directed for the constitution of special courts in districts that have recorded more than 100 cases under the POCSO Act. These courts are to try no other offences except those registered under the POCSO Act. 

While setting up such exclusive courts is a welcome move, what India needs is a more comprehensive approach to the prevention of crimes against children. Such an approach will require the identification of the underlying causes that are leading to the rise in crimes against children to attain the 2030 Sustainable Development goal of ending “abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against, and torture of, children.” 


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