BENGALURU: A social audit on the shelter homes in the state, which was due last year will be prepared soon. The audit will be carried out by the Women and Child Department, Karnataka Commission for Protection of Child Rights (KSCPCR) in coordination with NGOs and other stakeholders. This comes in the wake of sexual assault incidents reported in shelter homes in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, in 2018.
“In three months, a report will be submitted to the government on the findings of the audit. Apart from surprise checks on shelter homes, data collection will be undertaken to see if CWC (Child Welfare Committee), Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) and Juvenile Justice Board are functioning as per the Juvenile Justice Act,” said Antony Sebastian, chaiperson of KSCPCR.
For example, the police in SJPU should be trained to handle children in a sensitive way. Even with the Juvenile Justice Board, the courts have to be child friendly, and ensure officials are not in uniform but civil clothes.
“An updated list of all shelters, be it government or NGO owned, is being collated and data collection on functioning of other bodies has already begun. The checklist for the audit is being prepared. It will include aspects such as physical infrastructure, number of toilets, space to play, education, type of food, timetable for kids, and the likes,” he added.
External experts from the field, former KSCPCR members, child specialists from UNICEF are being consulted on the process. The final report is expected to highlight the gaps in the system and the condition of shelter homes.
State commission decentralised
For cases related to - right to education, child marriage, juvenile justice, and protection of children from sexual offences - parents and children often travel from districts to the city. In order to decentralise the working of KSCPCR, the state has been divided into six regions last month - Belgaum, Bellary, Dharwad, Shivamogga, Raichur, Mysuru. The office of the commission in districts will be inside the building of the district collector office.“People from villages often give up on seeking justice as they cannot travel all the way to the city. Decentralisation will help in such cases,” Sebastian said.