The police is the primary point of contact in matters of children in need of care and protection. As part of continuing child protection dialogue and sensitisation sessions with the law and order machinery, an orientation was conducted for the Civic Police Volunteers at the Birpara Police Station, on February 28, 2019.
Caritas India partner, Bal Suraksha Abhiyan Trust (BSA) has been engaging with the Police in Northern part of West Bengal on Child protection and rights issues for years. Given that the Police deal with the cases of crimes by adults and prosecution, it is more than a necessity to have them sensitised on child rights to incubate a child-friendly approach and mindset in handling matters of children in need care and protection.
As a case in point, Sr. Subeshna Thapa, Director of BSA, informed the participants of a higher number of children in need care and protection hailing from district of Alipurduar, which cases several locked and sick tea garden. They are taken to Kalimpong and Darjeeling districts, and the state of Sikkim for child labour, resulting in violation of every right of the child. “In fact, more than 70 per cent of the children in BSA run Child Care Institution are from Alipurduar! Many children have been protected from unsafe movement and trafficking with community based approaches, under the programme, Bal Adhikar Mero Jimmewar, with Caritas India” she said.
It is, therefore, to bridge the gap between the police and people that the batches of Civic Police Volunteers, have been oriented on Child Rights with special focus on Child Protection laws (POCSO, JJ Act and Anti-human trafficking laws). Mr. Hague, Sub-inspector, Birpara Police Station, complementing the work of BSA committed their support to protecting and ensure children’s rights. Each of the 24 Civic Police Volunteers pledged to work in a collaborative manner with the Child Protection Workers of BSA that work in the communities. BSA is recognised and invited as resource organisation by local Police on regular basis. As a result of the orientation, two cases relating to POCSO were reported by the Civic Volunteers the same day.
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