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Awareness Programme on POCSO and Child Rights at School Level

Child sexual abuse is a major concern that is increasing day by day in India and to fight child sexual abuse, it is important that we all take responsibility in our own various ways to combat the menace. The country is experiencing frequent incidences of violations against children. Most of them happen in Schools where children spent their maximum time. In some incidents children are perpetrators and sometimes they are victimized by the people of their own surroundings.

The Ministry of Women and Child Development introduced Protection of Children from sexual offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 in order to effectively address the heinous crimes of sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children through less ambiguous and more stringent legal provisions. The responsibility was given to National commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) and State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) to include NGO’s professionals, experts or persons who work with Psychology, social work, physical health, mental health and child development to follow the guidelines of POCSO Act, 2012.

The establishment of the West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights (WBCPCR) in April 2018 created a steering committee in collaboration with various NGO’s of Kolkata. The main objective of the committee was to create awareness on ‘POCSO Act 2012’ in schools and institutions, teaching children to understand the special provisions of legislations and helping them to stand up for their own safety is important. Such workshops would also facilitate teachers/parents in creating an atmosphere of caring safety and commitment towards their own role.

In collaboration with West Bengal Commission for protection of child rights (WBCPCR), SICW/CHP team conducted a one day workshop on 19/7/2019 on POCSO in Kasba Jagadish Vidyapith School (for Boys). The participants at the workshop included honourable Secretary of WBCPCR, Programme consultant of WBCPCR and law Consultant of WBCPCR and 2 representatives from the Members of JABALA Action Research Organization.

The workshop was divided in 2 sessions, one for the students and the other for the teachers and Parents. The first session included 58 students from class IX-XII. In this session the welcome speech was given by Indrani Dey, Programme Coordinator of CHP team felicitating Ms.Sudipta Chatterjee, Secretary of WBCPCR, Susmita Chanda, Programme consultant of WBCPCR and Siddique Pareveen, law Consultant of WBCPCR. The Secretary of WBCPCR shared her vision on the session. Then the Komal movie (a movie on child sexual abuse) was shown to the students by WBCPCR. With the end of the movie a session on 4 pillars of child rights, Juvenile Justice Act, POCSO Act was held. At the last part of the session a follow up was done by Debolina Roy and Indrani Dey (Public Health Officer and Programme Coordinator of CHP team where a POCSO game and Quiz was played where 93% of students could confidently answer correctly.

The second session had 39 participants including teachers of the school, parents, staffs and team members. The beginning of the programme was same as the first session with the welcome speech given by CHP team and sharing vision of the session by Secretary of WBCPCR. Discussion on various case studies was done by WBCPCR. Where teachers interacted and shared their knowledge. WBCPCR discussed about the 4 pillars of Child rights, Juvenile Justice Act and POCSO Act. A POCSO game was played as a follow up session where the teachers and parents were asked questions regarding the session. 97% participants could correctly answer to all the questions.

Hence the programme was successful and the CHP team looks forward to more such positive ventures in future.

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