Protecting our Children against Sexual abuse by predators is extremely important.
Crimes committed against children are largely unreported and swept under the carpet, with a shocking lack of awareness and empathy for it.
The Government has to take a host of actions to protect our children including strong action against the management of schools where children are subject to child abuse. Such crimes violate the trust that parents and children repose in the school and teachers. Parents should be able to rest assured that their children are safe. School management must be made accountable and responsible for the safety of children in school premises.
In November 2015, over 20 million people were reached through my change.org petition – through a slew of media and social media interventions, the deafening silence around #ChildSexualAbuse was finally broken!
It is extremely important to increase awareness and make India and our cities and villages safer place for our children, so that they can have positive, happy childhoods.
This is precisely why, as a continuation of my #ProtectOurChildren Campaign, we organized a National Consultation on the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012
The National Consultation was organised in order to address the loopholes and obstacles in the criminal justice system that are preventing swift justice for survivors of child sexual abuse in India and to strengthen the capacity of key stakeholders like the police, judiciary, lawyers, medical professionals and counsellors who play crucial roles in the response to these crimes.
Key Recommendations from the 2- day Consultation:
• Effective implementation of existing POCSO Act is a must.
• Need to recognize a link between domestic violence and child abuse.
• Need for monitoring indicators to assess the utilization of budgets on child protection and effectiveness of capacity building programs.
• Reporting cases under POCSO Act must be encouraged- it is a sign of awareness and a step forward considering the culture of silence around CSA.
• Child abuse online and cyber bullying are challenges presented by ICTs and we need to have laws and systems in place to deal with them.
• Special Courts should exclusively deal with matters under the POCSO Act.
• Minimize the number of times a child has to repeat their deposition, which can be done by making a statement under Section 164, CrPC as primary evidence.
Child Sexual Abuse needs to be dealt with by a Zero Tolerance approach by the Government. Both State and Centre government need to adopt a Maximum Governance driven strategy to ensure the safety, well-being and development of our children, and it is high time that the response to child sexual abuse transitions from being incident specific and reactive, to one that is institutional.
It is my hope that through this initiative, we can arrive at a set of cohesive solutions to address this malaise. India’s children deserve a safe, positive childhood!