The Adyar District Police have launched a novel initiative to reach out to children who do not have access to smartphones or who hesitate to approach the police in the event of any distress or abuse.
The police have started distributing self-addressed postcards so that the children can write and send them to the top police officer — Deputy Commissioner of Police in the area — about any abuse or harassment they face.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Adyar) V. Vikraman personally handed over the postcards to about 100-odd children. The postcards carry the address of the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Adyar, so that it would be easier for children to post the card.
Mr. Vikraman said: “We introduced it for the children who are not able to communicate their grievance either through smartphone or any other phone. Still many children are not able to access those communication devices. Children cannot go straight to the police station and lodge a complaint. The Commissioner of Police has integrated All Women Police Stations (AWPs) with local law and order police stations. Now, we are using law and order police for spreading awareness and distributing self-addressed postcards. We are ensuring that the postcards reach all children who are in vulnerable areas. If a child faces any abuse or harassment, he or she can simply write and post it in a post box. It reaches us. We will take immediate action.”
A similar initiative was launched in Tirunelveli and Villupuram districts when Mr. Vikraman was Superintendent of Police there. It received good response from the children in those districts and police were able to reach out to the children who were in need of any police assistance, he said.
Kanya Babu, a child right activist, said, “The initiative is a good awareness programme which will be helpful for children who are disadvantaged on most occasions. If something wrong is done to children, usually only parents and their relatives have to approach and lodge complaints. Most of the time, the parents hush up sexual abuse fearing embarrassment as the abuser might be inside the family. Only a small number of aggrieved persons come to report the abuse or harassment.”
M. Sudha, Inspector of Police, All Women Police, Adyar, said: “Self-addressed postcards are being distributed to children in Kanathur, Uranikuppam and Odaikuppam and other places wherever it is required. We hope to cover more children once school reopens.”
The police personnel are distributing the postcards to children during regular foot patrolling in evening hours.
“This initiative is only to tell them that this mode also exists. This is a step of taking service close to the public and a segment which was not covered before. We can protect childhood. The postcard can be used by children as a weapon if something wrong is done to them. They can write about it and post it to us,” said Mr.Vikraman.
The police have planned to tie-up with the postal department and place more post-boxes in thickly populated areas such as Kannagi Nagar.