BANGALORE: After the uproar over recent reports of increasing rapes of children in Bangalore, city-based child rights NGOs and government organisations are reaching out to schools through awareness programmes.
They are also training teachers and organising awareness camps for police on dealing with cases registered under the POCSO Act.
Anitha Shivakumar, Chairperson of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), told Express, “CWC, Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Women and Child Development department have decided to hold awareness sessions with police on how to react to cases registered under the POCSO Act. We have seen that police are very reluctant in these cases.”
This reluctance results in case proceedings being closed and criminals are not convicted, she said.
Anitha said the police force will be be taught to be child-centric while handling cases registered under the POCSO Act.
“At the time of interviewing the victims, they should know how to talk to a child victim. It is better late than never. We are trying our best, to us every child is special. Whatever happened is bad and we have to try to prevent repetitions of such cases,” she added.
Jenifer, the coordinator of BOSCO, a city-based women’s rights NGO, said the organisation is concentrating on awareness programmes in government schools. “We are talking personally to the children. To make them feel comfortable, we have appointed our best volunteers to talk to them about their rights, sexual harassment and also child labour,” she outlined.
Jenifer said that since they began visiting schools, the NGO has been receiving calls from parents and school principals about children being harassed.
“We think it is more important to talk to the children about their rights. They should know how sexual abuse starts and how it ends. We are making them aware of paedophiles and using simple child-centric methods to explain things,” Jenifer said.
Nagamani, coordinator of NGO Child Rights and You, said the focus should be on teaching teachers to have a child-centric approach. Members of the organisation will interact with children in slums and orphanages and spread awareness.