Guwahati: In a stepping stone to make police stations child-friendly across the state, the first ‘Handholding Workshop on POCSO for Investigating Officers’ was launched by Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta at Basistha Police Station in Guwahati on Thursday. The workshop was held under ‘Sishu Mitra Program’, a joint initiative of Assam Police, UNICEF India and UTSAH Child Rights Organisation.
Speaking with EastMojo, Miguel Das Queah, founder of UTSAH and a child rights activist, said that this is the first phase of the training where investigating officers (IOs) across 33 districts working on Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) cases will be trained.
Around 300 officials are to receive the training with a focus on compliance of procedural provisions of POCSO Act and Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, techniques of drafting high-quality charge sheets and ways of addressing case pendency. It aids in understanding child rights and child protection; ways to enhance the quality of service to child victims and making police interface positive.
On the methodology used for the workshops, Das said, “The IOs are being trained using interactive knowledge activity wherein resource experts from UTSAH are providing law-related technical information through an interactive process with the participating officers”
To keep a check on the effectiveness of the workshop, UTSAH with assistance from UNICEF India will reassess case pendency three months after the first phase of training and submit a report to the state government and DGP Assam.
Also, UTSAH will collect feedback from victims and families on the case status and experience with the police system and report it to government and DGP Assam.
The child rights activist said that workshops enable persons of authority to deal better with POCSO related cases. And at the same time, it makes sure that a child should have a positive experience inside the system.
The other phases of the programme involve social media usage by Assam Police on violence on children with special focus on child sexual abuse, beautification of child-friendly corners in police station across Assam and rolling out of child-friendly police jacket to bring visibility to the subject of child protection to public at large.
The workshops will provide continued resources, knowledge and handholding support to police stations for cases under POCSO and JJ Act and about linkages to services like overnight stay for the child, and how to draft and apply for compensation. Further, it will impart know-how on how to access support from district child protection officer for children with disabilities.
At the first workshop conducted at Basistha PS, for 20 IO’s of 20 PS under Guwahati Police Commissionerate. Munna Prasad Gupta, IPS, Commissioner, Guwahati Police; Deboraj Upadhyay, Joint Commissioner, Guwahati Police; Dr Madhulika Jonathan, Chief, UNICEF Assam; Subashini Sankaran, DCP(East), Guwahati Police and Jayant Singh, DCP(Crime), Guwahati Police also attended the program.
Similar programmes will take place across the state till March 20.
The Sishu Mitra Program of Assam Police was launched in August last year. Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had unveiled the child-friendly jackets during the event.