sex abuse law

Indian school students shout slogans as they participate in an awareness Campaign against Child Sex Abuse in Hyderabad on Nov. 19, 2014, the World Day for Prevention of Child Abuse. More than 53 percent of children in India have faced sexual abuse, according to reports. (Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — The Indian government has toughened a law against child sexual abuse and child pornography.

The law amended this week has increased the maximum penalty for child sex abuse to capital punishment. The former penalty was 20 years in prison.

More than 53 percent of children in India have faced sexual abuse, according to reports.

The government also defined child pornography for the first time and made the penalties more stringent, with a maximum punishment up to three years in prison.

The amendments prohibit administering hormones or chemical therapies to children to hasten their sexual maturity for the purpose of sexual intercourse. The updated law clarifies that children are protected from sex abuse even during natural disasters.

The ruling amends the 2012 gender-neutral Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, which says a child is anyone younger than 18 years old.

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