Waking up to the vulnerability of children in various institutions – schools, children’s homes, households and other establishments dealing with minors -- the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) on Tuesday released a set of draft guidelines for prevention of child abuse.

Confident that these draft guidelines, which have been now opened for comments, would be notified by next month, DCPCR chairman Arun Mathur said: “The aim is to reduce incidents of violence against children. As per the guidelines, it will be mandatory for all schools and other institutions in the city to have staff (teachers, caregivers and support staff) that is aware of the rights of the child. Schools and institutions will have to put in place checks and balances to ensure that the child is monitored against abuse. The staff will be held accountable for not reporting any incident or case or abuse (physical, emotional or mental). The guidelines, after being notified, will apply to all schools, institutions and homes and criminal action will be taken against those found not adhering to these.”

“The guidelines have been brought in keeping best interest of the child in perspective. These have laid down the guiding principles in the child protection safeguards that have been proposed. There is emphasis on the need for awareness and education regarding issues of child abuse not only in residential facilities and schools but also at the family and community level. The guidelines also address the aspect of safety and standards in schools, a facet which has been sidelined thus far in the child safety debate,” he added. The DCPCR chairman also noted that these guidelines flow from the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, [Rule 31 and Rule 60(1)] and borrow from the various rules laid down in the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012, (POCSO) for the safety and security of children.

“Since such guidelines for prevention of child abuse had not existed in any systematic manner either in Delhi, other States or even at the central level, the DCPCR wanted to ensure that the guidelines are finalised in a thorough and well-researched manner so that these are not only applicable for Delhi but could serve as a model for other States and could be adopted at the central level as well,” he noted.

Stating that while currently there are two major legislations that deal with the issue of child abuse in various forms – Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, pertaining to juveniles in conflict with law and children in need of care and protection, and the Protection of Children From Sexual Offences Act, 2012, -- Mr. Mathur added: “However, neither of the legislations specifically focuses on aspects of prevention.”

The guidelines are available for public comment on http://delhi.gov.in/wps /wcm/connect/doit_dcpcr /DCPCR/Home/Guidelines

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