Kerala

Psychosocial counsellors in each block to assess POCSO survivors

The State government will appoint one psychosocial counsellor in each block of the State to conduct a preliminary assessment of child survivors of sexual offences and suggest any aid they may require.

The preliminary assessment is seen as important to address the lag in trauma care and provision of quick support to survivors of cases registered under POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act.

Often POCSO cases are registered, but the children do not come within the support system for various reasons. An institutional mechanism for preliminary assessment of all survivors of child sexual abuse will be put in place by the end of the year to address this.

For this, a preliminary assessment of survivors will be done by trained psychosocial counsellors (school counsellors who do not have other responsibilities) before completing the social investigation report. A total of 152 counsellors (one for each block) are being selected to make the assessment as per a standard operating procedure. So, when a case of abuse is reported to the child welfare committee, it can refer the case to a psychosocial counsellor through the district child protection officers (DCPOs).

The counsellors will evaluate factors such as emotional, mental, and physical condition of the child, family background and support available, financial condition of family, and presence of threats. They will provide basic psychological support to the survivors and also evaluate if psychosocial support is needed and for how long, the need for immediate medical aid or family counselling, and whether vulnerability is from within family.

Based on this evaluation, the counsellor has to prepare a preliminary report and submit it to the CWC, which, in turn, may decide on providing further services such as support through psychosocial counsellors or under the Kaval Plus scheme if the child is in the medium-to-sever vulnerability category.

Officials such as DCPOs, special juvenile police unit centre administrators, CWC members, and child development project officers will be given orientation about the whole process too.

A detailed assessment of family situation and mental heal aid to assess capacity of caregivers will be done through a social investigation report by the district child protection unit team. Rehabilitation measures such as opportunities for optimal development and educational or vocational training for reintegration into society will be taken based on this report.

The selection of psychosocial counsellors is under way. The honorarium for them will be met using Nirbhaya Cell fund.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 8:59:41 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/psychosocial-counsellors-in-each-block-to-assess-pocso-survivors/article65567972.ece