Kerala

Projects for POCSO survivors, first-time offenders

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Kaval inspires more psychosocial programmes

Kaval, the Women and Child Development Department’s successful project for psychosocial rehabilitation of children in conflict with law, has inspired similar programmes in two others areas — one for preventing first-time offenders in the 18-30 age group who are in jail from committing further offences through counselling and legal help and another for rehabilitation of survivors of POCSO cases.

The first programme is in line with the State government’s objective of an offender-free Kerala. Under the programme, first-time offenders who are handed out smaller sentences or those who are accused of crimes and are in jail without bail will be provided psychosocial support for their rehabilitation.

Employment

Once labelled an offender, a person finds it hard to get any employment after getting out of jail.

This increases his or her likelihood of committing more offences. How offenders will live in society once they are out of jail is another big question.

Moreover, unlike in the case of those sentenced to longer durations, there are no scheme at present for skill training of first-time offenders who are given smaller sentences or accused who are in jail without bail.

The Social Justice Department plans to bring about a transformation in such people by providing them counselling, de-addiction, legal help, skill training and other psychosocial interventions so as to turn them away from recidivism. The Prisons department, the police, Health Department, educational institutions, prosecution, and non-governmental organisations will help. It will even focus on dependants of accused and support scheme for victims.

The Women and Child Development Department too has drawn up a programme for rehabilitation and reintegration of survivors of crimes under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.

As per department statistics, a total of 14,910 cases were registered in the State from November 2012 to October 2019 under the POCSO Act.

However, only 1,417 cases had been disposed of till December 2018.

Interventions will be made at individual, family, education or vocational, and social levels. Education, health, family, institution, economic, legal, advocacy and legal support will be provided to them.

Once a child is identified from police stations for providing such interventions, introduction of services and rapport development follow.

Interventions

After an assessment of psychosocial problems and needs, individual care plans that provide direct interventions such as psychosocial interventions and connect the child to various resources are implemented. Follow-ups and reassessment of needs and identification of hurdles will be taken up.

An intersectoral approach to rehabilitation will help in reintegration of survivors into family and community, say officials.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 1:05:25 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/projects-for-pocso-survivors-first-time-offenders/article30243228.ece

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