Owing to the low conviction rate of cases pertaining to sexual abuse of children and rise of such cases in the city, the Chandigarh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CCPCR) inaugurated a POCSO cell to monitor cases pertaining to sexual abuse of children.
Laying impetus on this year’s theme of CCPCR building a child- friendly city, chairperson Harjinder Kaur inaugurated the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) cell which would monitor cases registered under POCSO Act and provide counselling to children, who are victims of sexual abuse.
In 2016, 40 per cent of the accused, booked for sexually abusing a child, were acquitted. There was a sudden rise in the number of such cases from 62 in 2014 to 81 in 2015. Police had registered 80 cases of sexual abuse last year as well.
The POCSO cell was inaugurated by Mahavir Singh, the member-secretary of State Legal Services Authority (SLSA). “The main issue that we need to lay stress on is providing counselling to the victims of sexual abuse. The victims of sexual abuse are under trauma and there is a need to deal with them carefully. Thus, the cell should provide experienced and dedicated counsellors,” he said.
The POCSO cell will be functioning from the CCPCR office The commission had launched its campaign on POCSO Shout & Stop in April and since then, it has been raising awareness among school students and other stakeholders, including house mothers, counsellors and police personnel.
The CCPCR, in collaboration with SLSA, Chandigarh, had also organised a regional workshop on child labourat the UT Guest House on Friday. The purpose of the regional workshop was to collectively build mechanism to combat child labour and help victims recover their childhood. Additionally, build mechanisms for proper rehabilitation of children in contact with law.
The resource persons for the workshop were Panudda Boonpala, ILO Director, DWT for South Asia and Country Office for India, Dr Kingshuk Sarkar, Fellow, V V Giri National Labour Institute, Noida, Sanjay Nirala, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, Geeta Narayan, Member Secretary, NCPCR, along with chairperson and members of SCPCR.
CCPCR chairperson Harjinder Kaur said, “The Regional Workshop organised by CCPCR and SLSA is a collective vision to build child-friendly cities and communities where children are given opportunities to grow.”
“India is taking a major step forward on minimum age for employment starting at the age of 14 in line with the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. India is also firm in eliminating worst forms of child labour for children up to age 18 and younger. The ratification will provide opportunities to step up the fight against child labour,” said Panudda Boonpala, Director of the ILO Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India in her keynote address.
During the technical session on child labour, Sanjay Nirala, Child Protection Officer, UNICEF, highlighted that the drivers of change in child labour would be “social protection schemes, quality education, strengthening governance system and community mobilisation”. He added that one of the primitive parameters for Child Labour is identification and mapping of child labour based on geographical area, stakeholders and other parameters. NCPCR member-secretary Geeta Narayan highlighted key ways to improvise the lives of vulnerable and marginalised street children were creating their Aadhaar cards and bank accounts. She also spoke on the recently launched programme on safe childhood by NCPCR.
NCPCR member-secretary Geeta Narayan highlighted key ways to improvise the lives of vulnerable and marginalised street children were creating their Aadhaar cards and bank accounts. She also spoke on the recently launched programme on safe childhood by NCPCR.
The commission had also recognised market associations which have actively taken the Child Labour Campaign forward and have made their markets child labour free. The event concluded with a vote of thanks by Professor Nistha Jaswal, member, CCPCR. The second and concluding day of the regional workshop begin with an exhibition of children’s work on the theme of child labour.
The cultural play was also showcased by the children of Snehalaya and a play was also performed by Theatre for Theatre on the theme of Child Labour. On the occasion, the children of Snehalaya were also awarded for their achievements. The concluding day was attended by the regional commissions for protection of child Rights along with the personnel of DCPU, CWC, WCHL and other stakeholders.