Training module to be developed to spread awareness at district level on amended POCSCO Act

New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) A training module will be developed and distributed in districts across the country to raise awareness about the recently amended POCSO Act to have the necessary understanding on prevention of and response to child sexual abuse, Women and Child Development (WCD) Minister Smriti Irani said.

The WCD ministry will get assistance from the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), neuroscience institute NIMHANS and UNICEF who will all work together to ensure district-wise outreach regarding the recently notified rules of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, she said.

The key stakeholders to be involved in this outreach programme include police and law enforcement agencies, district child protection units, state and district legal services authorities, child welfare committees, providers of health, education and mental health services among others.

'From free legal aid to counselling through agencies like BPR&D, we also hope to engage with police agencies district-wise to enhance our capacities to address crimes against children,' she told PTI.

The module will include formats for training need assessment and post-training feedback format, along with check lists for all 'duty bearers' and 'rights holders', she said.

The training module will include video lectures by subject experts on the roles of various stakeholders. It will help homogenisation of the contents and also be useful for conducting training in remote places where appropriate subject experts may not be available to impart training, she said.

These modules will be shared with all state governments and will be placed on the ministry's website, Irani said, noting that protection of children and their well being is central to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's endeavours of building a new India.

She said there is an urgent need to provide orientation and raise awareness programmes for all stakeholders and communities at large on how the law can support children who are victims of sexual abuse with emphasis on prevention and roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders.

The training module aims to raise awareness among the key stakeholders of their role in POCSO implementation and to have the necessary understanding on how to prevent and respond to sexual abuse.

It also aims to impress upon key institutions entrusted with training of stakeholders to take on POCSO training as a priority and develop the capacities of District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) to undertake district-based awareness campaigns on POCSO through schools, panchayats and other community engagement platforms.

The module will be developed by the WCD Ministry with support from UNICEF, BPR&D, NALSA and NIMHANS in March with the objective to launch these during the last week of March or by first week of April, she said.

A mobile application and dashboard will be developed to get confirmation of training having been conducted in a particular location and to upload pictures of the same, she said, adding that it will help the ministry in monitoring the pace of training all over the country and give real time information regarding the coverage.

Training in every district will be anchored by DCPUs. Funds for capacity building released under Child Protection Services Scheme to states and districts may be used for organising the workshop 'Video conferences will also be organised with all the states/UTs under the chairpersonship of Secretary, WCD to inform them about the training. During the meeting the States/UTs will also be informed that they are required to conduct the training form  April 1, 2020 covering all districts of the states,' she added.

Irani said the first preparatory phase will involve the collation of materials on POCSO already existing and development of specific orientation modules for duly bearers.

This will include AV components as well. In addition, a package for awareness and education will also be created. This process will be supported by UNICEF, she said.

The second phase will involve dissemination of a detailed FAQ to states to implement 'three months of action on POCSO' along with a resource pack to be used by various agencies.

'This will also include a monitoring plan for District Collectors/Magistrates that can be real time and feed into a dashboard that will be tracked at the national level. The tracking system will be developed by UNICEF in consultation with MWCD,' she added.

The third phase is the actual roll out of the training for stakeholders at the district level on one hand and education and awareness campaigns on the other hand.

While the first component will be led by respective institutional bodies as outlined above, the second component will be primarily led by DCPUs and Childline India charitable trust, she said.

Elaborating on the role of the stakeholders, she said UNICEF will support the finalisation of the training awareness package, develop monitoring plan and dashboard, support in efforts at the state level for the roll out and final report and stock staking.

NALSA will provide technical support in developing the module, especially from the perspective of judiciary officers and legal professionals.

The Bureau of Police Research & Development will help in developing the module from the perspective of training requirements of police personnel.

NIMHANS will provide inputs from the perspective of mental health issues and need for sensitivity of the victims. PTI UZM JTR RDM RDM