Fight against child abuse to the grassroots-level
The government has decided to take its fight against abuse of children and women to the grassroots-level by roping in services of local bodies, Minister for Panchayats and Social Welfare M.K. Muneer said here on Saturday.
Inaugurating a two-day State-level consultative meeting on child rights, he said the government had a “dream” plan of making all panchayats child and women-friendly. As a beginning, 77 panchayats had been identified and crime mapping was done in all the identified local bodies, he said.
Explaining the steps taken by the government to bring down incidents of child abuse, he said Jagratha Samathis would be revived so that social evils could be curtailed at the ward-level itself. The government was contemplating several steps to revamp the functioning of juvenile homes. In this direction, the services of NGOs would be sought after bringing a framework for their functioning. The framework for the NGOs would be discussed in the Cabinet before it was implemented, he said.
Awareness programmes against child marriage, free treatment for children up to 18 years of age suffering from cancer, acute renal and cardiac problems were some of the initiatives, he said. Another 200 children would be given free surgery for cochlear implantation, he said.
Expressing determination in making Kerala the first women and child-friendly State, he said the government cannot remain mute witness to violence against them even when adequate legislative measures that guarantee protection to children and women were in place.
It was quite astonishing to note that the perpetrators of crime against children and women were turning out to be those who were supposed to safeguard their lives. Equally amazing was the fact that homes and schools, which were considered to be the most secure places, had become unsafe for children, he said.
In her address, chairperson of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights Kushal Singh said institutions created for care and protection of children needed to be strengthened and more funds should be allocated to the Juvenile Justice Boards, Child Welfare Committees, and observation homes to make them more effective.
Presiding over the function, chairperson of Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights Neela Gangadharan urged the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to provide accreditation to NGOs working for child welfare and protection. Accreditation of NGOs had become an important issue as involvement of such organisations in preventing child abuse was gathering momentum, she said.
The consultative meeting, she said, was conducted after eliciting views of selected representatives of Bala Sabhas and the two-day meeting would come out with strong recommendations on ways to prevent incidents of child abuse.