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9 December 2021 | Podcasts | Article by Alan Collins

Skin on skin contact not required in sexual abuse – top Indian court rules: HJ Talks About Abuse

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This week we discuss the decision recently overturned by the Supreme Court of India regarding the need for skin on skin contact for sexual abuse to be established.

Child sexual abuse is a major problem in India with thousands of cases reported each year. Some research suggests that sexual abuse was as high as 53% of children surveyed.

The background of the case in question was that a 12 year old girl was groped over clothing by a 39 year old man who touched her breasts and tried to remove her trouser bottoms.

The Mumbai High Court Judge ruled as there was no skin on skin contact when touching the child’s breasts, the case would fail for sexual assault and would only result in a lesser charge of molestation.

This understandably outraged many people who called for a review of the decision. It was rightly argued at appeal that skin on skin contact should not be necessary for sexual assault to be established.

The decision would have set a dangerous precedent and perhaps discouraged others from reporting sexual abuse.

The Supreme Court bench said that the sexual intent must be considered not whether there was skin to skin contact and the previous decision had “insensitively legitimised sexual behaviour”.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins at [email protected] or Danielle Vincent at [email protected].

Author bio

Alan Collins


Alan Collins is one of the best known and most experienced solicitors in the field of child abuse litigation and has acted in many high profile cases, including the Jimmy Savile and Haut de la Garenne abuse scandals.  Alan has represented interested parties before public inquiries including the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, and IICSA (Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse).

Internationally, Alan works in Australia, South East Asia, Uganda, Kenya, and California representing clients in high profile sexual abuse cases. Alan also spoke at the Third Regional Workshop on Justice for Children in East Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok hosted by Unicef and HCCH (Hague Conference on Private International Law).

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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