November 14, 2019 8:00:53 am
No less than 125 complaints — including those concerning child marriage, child trafficking and child sexual abuse — have been reported to the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Right (ASCPCR) since the beginning of 2019. Yet, there are many that go unreported and slip through the cracks. In a bid to remedy this, on Children’s Day, the ASCPCR is launching a mobile application, Sishu Suraksha, as a means to lodge complaints on child rights violation, and address them in timely and appropriate ways.
The app, available on iOs and Android platforms, can be used by anyone in the state to lodge complaints which will be then directly sent to the commission. This is probably the first of its kind application in the Northeast — earlier one would have to to write a formal letter to the ASCPCR head office in Guwahati to file a complaint.
“Many times when people see a child in distress, they do not know what to do. They might go to police station, but many claim that they are either made to wait endlessly, or the Officer-in-Charge does not pay heed to them. Some have complained that the redressal or action takes too long,” says Sunita Changkakati, ASCPCR chairperson, “This is where the app comes in — the user needs to just open the app, and key in their complaint in the ‘How To Lodge a Complaint’ section. And we will immediately intervene.”
Lodging a complaint involves keying in details like particulars of the victim, the address, which police station they fall under and what kind of abuse it is. The categories the app currently has are: child labour, child marriage, child sexual abuse, violation of rights and others.
The app is divided into four components: one section is about the ASCPCR, another has messages from the Chief Minister, the Social Welfare Minister, and the ASCPCR chairperson, the third is a photo gallery and most importantly, the fourth, is the complaint section. “Soon there will be a fifth one, the complaint status or the ‘follow up’ section, where the user can check the what steps have been taken so far with regard to his/her complaint,” says Changkakati.
Changkakati says that the biggest deterrent when it comes to reporting cases of child rights violation is that many people don’t recognise cases of violation for what they are. “Many times, especially in school, things happen which might amount to mental abuse and distress. These cases often go unreported merely because people don’t realise the mental impact it’s having on children” says Changkakati.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau, Assam features among the top 10 states with maximum number of crimes against children, with a hundred percent jump between 2014 and 2016 (from 1,385 to 2,970). Currently Childline, the pan-India 24-hour children’s helpline is in function in 11 out of 33 districts of Assam. “However, with this app, anyone, in any district of Assam can use it — including the children themselves,” says Changkakati.
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