Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Deptt. of Health, Govt. of Delhi issued guidelines for the hospitals on POCSO Act, 2012

(RTI Intervention Yields Positive Result)

On 10/7/2013 a Child Sexual Abuse case was referred to Pratidhi. The child was taken to LBS hospital for medical examination. The doctor told the victim and their family members that to conduct medical examination, doctor inserts their hand in the vagina and some time they have to cut the vagina also.  As a result the victim was horrified and discouraged by the doctors to undertake gynecological medical examination. The investigating Officer reported this matter in writing to Child Welfare Committee, Dilshad Garden.

Similarly in one more case Doctor blamed victim’s family for what had happened with the child victim and dissuaded and refused to conduct gynecological medical examination. In yet another case child was beaten up by hospital staff in IHBAS for her abnormal behavior and not taking medicine.  
Unnecessary delay in conducting medical examination of child victims of sexual abuse and insensitive handling by doctors and medical staffs is routine in almost all Delhi Govt. Hospitals with few exceptions.

Pratidhi has been working with child sexual abuse victims from last 16 years in Delhi. During last eight months, Pratidhi worked extensively with more than 125 sexual abuse cases. Hence, Pratidhi decided to intervene on this issue.  Following strategy was taken in the matter:
        I.            A Workshop for Doctors in collaboration with Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. of Delhi was organized on the role of doctors/hospitals under the provisions of POCSO Act and Rules, 2012 A letter was sent to Mr. A.K. Walia, Minister of Health and Family Welfare with a request that Department of Health should issue a detailed SOP/ Circular for medical examination of child sexual abuse victim as per the provisions of POCSO Act, 2012 .

A RTI application was filed with Directorate of Health services on 19/6/2013 to know whether Department has issued detailed circular/SOP based on the provisions of POCSO Act, 2012.

A misleading reply was given by PIO. Hence, 1st appeal was filed on 26/8/2013.

Hearing on RTI matter was held on 11/9/2013. The Government officials itself agreed on the point that the Department had not taken any initiative in the matter and guidelines should be issued for hospitals/ doctors 

      V.            Disposal order of appeal received on 23/9/2013 with the information that the circular regarding guideline for hospital which includes provisions of POCSO Act has already been uploaded on the Delhi Govt. website for public display”.( )

The whole process shows how RTI application made the Government recognize the gravity of matter and issue circular to all the government hospitals of state. The impact of RTI goes beyond just to provide information. It can lead to bring improvement in implementation of existing schemes and acts.  Pratidhi,  hope that other Child Right Organizations will also take up similar and more matters by adopting RTI as a tool for Child Protection/ Rights, which can help in dealing the issues of children on broader canvas. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

Demand to include Child Protection issues in political parties manifesto

Govt. does not give any priority to implementation of ICPS, JJ Act or The POCSO Act. The lethargy and inaction of the Govt. machinery is a major hindrance in effective implementation of above laws and schemes meant for children. 
In order to deal with this state of affairs more than 60 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and activists have come together as Delhi Child Rights Group (DCRG) to run community based campaign all over Delhi. 
As a first step a press conference cum public meeting was organized on 27th April,2013 to highlight all aspects of systematic failures experienced by child rights  organizations while dealing with cases of sexual violence against children. After that a memorandum of demand was prepared which highlighted all gaps in the system and list of demands of corrective measures( memorandum attached). It was decided to go to people in different settlements and colonies of Delhi, raise awareness on the issue and seek support of people for the memorandum.  

This is election time in many States including Delhi. Therefore, it was decided by the group that we will have a meeting with all the major political parties in Delhi and submit the memorandum of demand ( with 40000 signatures.

In this regard the core group members first met Arvind Kejariwal the convener of AAP on 14.10.2013. He promised to work with DCRG if elected to power and has assured to give importance to Child Protection issues in his party’s manifesto. Yogendra Yadav who is working on the Party’s manifesto has been given our memorandum along with signatures and factsheet.
Further we met Mr. Vijay Sharma, Organizing General Secretary, BJP Delhi on 15.10.2013 and shared our concern on Child Protection issues and submitted the memorandum along with signatures and factsheet.  He assured us that his party will work on this issue. We have also sent the copy of memorandum to Mr. Harsh Vardhan, who is preparing the party’s manifesto and he is the Delhi Chief Ministerial candidate of BJP.

Lastly the core group went to meet Smt. Shiela Dikshit, CM, Delhi on 22.10.2013 at 9.00 a.m., as per the scheduled date and time given by the CM office. While she was going inside her office she asked the core group to hand over the copy of their demands, but she did not give any assurance whether her party will include the demands in the party’s manifesto.  

Now Delhi Child Right Group is going submit memorandum of demand along with 40000 signatures to followings:
State level.
·        Lieutenant Governor
·        Minister WCD
·        Police commissioner
·        DCPCR

National Level.
·         Prime Minister
·         Home minister
·         Minister WCD
·         NCPCR

Delhi Child Right Group also planning to organize Round table meeting/ Dialogue with leaders of Political Parties in third week of November 2013.

Please see the media stories on the campaign. If any of you interested, we can send you the memorandum, and other documents.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

An interface with Media Representatives on "Role of media in building Child Protection Environment”

Department of Women and Child Development, Govt. of Delhi in collaboration with AFD-Pratidhi  organized an interface with Media representatives on “ Role of media building child Protection Environment” on 20th September, 2013 with a view to develop a clear understanding on Child Protection issues with reference to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protect of Children) Act, 2000 and newly enacted law “The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 as well as media guidelines issues by the Hon’able High Court of Delhi.

A total 25 participants participated in the interface, out of which 16 were from media organizations. Some senior officers from Department of Women and child development, Govt. of Delhi. also addressed the audience. The following issues were discussed:  
Contribution of media: All the participants appreciated media’s role in generating awareness among people on child rights issues.
Nature of reporting on juvenile in conflict of law: Many a times the flow and style of media reporting makes lots of difference especially on juvenile in conflict with law. One of the examples was the reporting in Nirbhaya case where a Juvenile was involved. Due to inappropriate media reporting, a kind of fear and insecurity was created among people vis-à-vis juvenile in conflict with law.
Misleading reporting: Various incidents were cited where the media reports give misleading information. It came to the light that the reporters use their own sources, which is misleading at times, to know the matter and write accordingly. It was suggested that a person can be designated as spokesperson in every department so that any media person can contact him to get the correct information.

Ignorance of law among Govt. Authorities: It was also said that government functionaries are not completely familiar with the legal provisions pertaining to children. Participants discussed an incident where the CWC chairperson himself was not fully aware of the provision of concealing the identity of the victim. Therefore, it was suggested that such Govt. functionaries should also be informed about legal provisions and its implications.
Interaction with the children staying in the institutions: Media persons raised the issues that the media is not allowed to meet the children in the Children Homes, though Children Homes do not have any problem. Therefore, a standard procedure needs to be developed for media so that they can have access to the children in Homes.

Reformative action should come in public domain: In the light of juvenile involvement in gang rape case, the failure of system to rehabilitate a convicted juvenile in conflict with law was discussed at length. The matter was what reformative action is taken to rehabilitate the juvenile in conflict with law within the institutions doesn’t come in public domain. Therefore, media should be permitted to enter in the institutions and see the reformative process of the children. A child may repeat the same action even after going back to community; therefore, follow up should also be done where media can also play a crucial role.

Discloser of identity Vs Community services: It has been observed that JJBs are not implementing the provision of community services for rehabilitation of children in conflict with law because of the possibility of discloser of identity of the children which can even jeopardize the rehabilitation process of children and acceptability by the community.

Mandatory reporting: It was discussed that the mandatory reporting in case of child sexual abuse is required as per the POCSO Act but many a times it makes the well-wisher of the children party to the crime and they will have to appear in the court as witness which people generally not willing to do. This needs to be looked into and appropriately amended. 

Friday, 20 September 2013

Signature Campaign Against Child Sexual Abuse (Children’s Safety : Collective Responsibility)

After the brutal gang rape of twenty three years old Nirbhaya and five years old Gudiya the massive outcry and outrage has drawn the attention of every individual. It showed utter failure of our government machinery to protect our children the very future of our country. Gudiya is not the only case of its kind, but there are several children like her, whose plight remain unheard. Such cases are inflating every day making a mockery of our system. It was also felt children of our society were not safe in such an abusive environment, despite having multiple legislations to address the problem.
This situation made it essential that not only the government officials, responsible for protection of children, but every individual shall be informed about their rights and duties towards providing safe environment to children. Community shall provide ample space where children must feel comfortable to discuss about their problems and issues with their elders. Children shall be able to come out and speak, if anyone tries to do anything wrong with them. Community shall be sensitized so that the children shall not be exploited by mischievous elements.
Keeping this entire issue in mind it was felt that some mechanism shall be created which will respond to such incidents. It is said that “knowledge is power”, therefore, it is essential that children, their families, neighbourhood and community at large shall be informed about the legal provisions, schemes etc pertaining to the children. It is felt that this power of knowledge will help the children to get protected from perpetrators of abuse.
So a group of more than 50 Child Rights organizations came together and created a network viz. “Delhi Child Rights Group” (DCRG). DCRG started a signature campaign against child sexual abuse in different parts of Delhi to draw the attention of Government on the one hand and sensitizing the children, their families, neighbourhood and community on the other.
As a part of network AFD- Pratidhi started a signature campaign in East district of Delhi from 2nd July to 11th July, 2013. Community volunteers, who are actually children from Trilokpuri community, were sensitized first. After this these sensitized children went ahead and took the responsibility of sensitizing their own peers, families and community. The strategies adopted by these volunteers to spread the information within the community were door to door visits, street plays and public meetings. It was quite interesting to see that community was responding to these strategies favourably. People turned up in good number in every street play and public meeting and signed the memorandum, which is to be put up to the Government. Community Based Organizations and well wishers were also involved to bolster this initiative and succor them in covering the wider area to sensitize the community.

 Bacchon ki Hifazat : Hum Sabki Jimmedari