THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The model child protection protocol formulated in December 2014 during the tenure of the Oommen Chandy government following the recommendations of the Shafeeq committee report is in cold storage. The report, if properly taken up by the departments concerned, would have prevented the tragic murder of the seven-year-old boy by his mother’s friend at Thodupuzha.
Dr M K Muneer, deputy leader of Opposition who was the Minister of Social Justice and one of the pioneers in producing a model protocol for child protection, told Express “The report was produced after an in-depth study which touched every aspect of child abuse and violence. This includes domestic violence and abuse and if the present government and the officials concerned had taken more care in this, we could have saved a precious life.”
He said, “We have implemented this after a detailed study on the trauma faced by S Shafeek - a five-year-old boy who was attacked by his own father along with his stepmother and was later taken care of by a woman named Ragini. The government should develop such a culture wherein more people like Ragini help and support such deprived children.”
The model protocol on child protection states child abuse is preventable and the measures taken include identification of vulnerable families and those affected by other forms of vulnerability. According to the report, mass awareness campaigns on child protection are needed as it can draw public attention to the problems and motivate changes in norms, practices and behaviours harmful to children.
The report also called upon the POCSO cell of Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights( KSCPCR) to produce short films and advertisements on promotion of POCSO Act and proper timeline was designated in the report which needs to be implemented. Unfortunately, the agencies concerned are found wanting in implementing these guidelines leading to more and more abuses.