Of this number, 8,503, in nearly 50% of the cases minors were lured online into meeting people who then subjected them to sexual abuse or entered into sexual relationships with the promise of marriage. In law, maintaining a physical relationship with someone below the age of consent is statutory rape.
On the list of states, Maharashtra is followed by UP with 6,978 cases, MP (5,348), Karnataka (4,339) and Gujarat (4,228). The three-year data was released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 2019 being the last year for which NCRB statistics are available.
In Maharashtra, it was found that cases of abuse of minors has been on the rise, going up from 2,398 cases in 2017 to 2,944 in 2018 to 3,161 in 2019. The report has been classified into offenders’ relation to the victim. While the worst perpetrators are ‘online friends’, the report showed that minors are at risk even at home or in the neighbourhood from friends and family. The most vulnerable underage persons are between 16 and 18 years old, followed by 12-16 years, 6-12 years and then even those aged below six years.