Amidst surge in crimes against children, the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights convened a high-level meeting at Conference Hall, Secretariat, with heads of departments and district administration chaired by Chairperson, Peter F. Borges.
The joint-meeting had representatives from Directorate of Education, Goa Educational Development Corporation, Tribal Welfare, Sports and Youth Affairs, District Magistrates, North Goa and South Goa and Goa Police.
In the opening remarks, Borges said that child protection is everyone’s and a shared responsibility, including all departments which are either providing welfare or protection at various level. Child safeguarding and protection is given too little attention for a quite sometime now. The most common reactions being that it does not happen, is someone else’s responsibility or is an isolated incident.
He further said that child protection and welfare, is not charity and need to be just and decisive and all the actors need to improve the operational efficiency and effectiveness of the child protection system.
The key discussions and recommendations are as follows:
•Directorate of Women and Child Development to formulate State Child Protection Policy and enforce customised child protection policy in registered children’s homes. Further, it should complete the long pending recruitment of personnel for District Child Protection Unit.
•Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs and Sports Authority of Goa to formulate and enforce child protection policy in coaching centres, training academies, sports associations, clubs, with guidelines for institutions, coaches, trainees for ensuring safety, security, and healthy environment for all round development of children.
•District Magistrates to identify all institutions housing children, including boardings, hostels, those imparting religious education, unregulated coaching institutes and training academies, excluding registered children’s homes and ensure their registration as per laws with relevant authorities, to bring them under ambit of child protection with relevant safeguards.
•Directorate of Education to formulate and enforce child protection policy in all schools and amend the POCSO circular with the latest amendments suggested by the Commission in view of delay in mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse. Further, it recommends rigorous implementation of Personal Safety Education programme through nodal teachers trained by the Commission.
Directorate of Panchayat – Strengthen village child committees and conduct balgram sabha at all panchayats with defined agenda to address children’s protection issues and mechanism at village level by end of November 2023.