Implement Child Related Laws Reform Children through Community Service – Punishment does not work

Panaji, December 18, 2012 …. …Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG) and the Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) jointly organized a consultation on Children and the Law – the Effectiveness of Juvenile Justice (Care & Protection of Children) Act and the Goa Children’s Act in Goa on 13th and 14th December 2012. The Keynote Address was delivered by Nina Nayak, member of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). She emphasized the need of convergence between different child protection authorities to ensure the best interests of the child; the need for the State Commission, the CWCs and the JJBs to exercise their authority in order to protect children and to examine the specific needs of each child.

Chief Guest, Samira Kazi, Chairperson of the Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (GSCPCR) narrated how the State Commission has been trying to ensure that Village Child Committees are set up in every village. She also stated that the Commission would try to ensure that the JJ Act and GCA are implemented effectively in Goa.

Director Sunil Masurkar represented the Directorate of Women and Child Development. Fr Antony Sebastion, former member of the Bangalore JJB, said that children in conflict with law were directed to participate in community service – visiting the home for the aged, taking care of gardens and parks – This was found to be an effective means of reforming children and enabled them to become productive members of society. Vasudeva Sharma, former member of the Karnataka State Commission and of the Child Welfare Committee, described how the CWC had played a proactive role in the rescue and rehabilitation of child labour.

Others who spoke at the Consultation were DySP Umesh Gaonkar, JJB member Janette Dias, CWC member Lida Joao, Childline Coordinator Sr Prudencia Vaz; Dy Director of Tourism Pamela Mascarenhas, ARZ representative Juliana Lohar, Former Headmistress Irene Cardoso, Hon’ble Judge Anuja Prabhudesai; PP Poonam Bharne;  Adv Albertina Almeida; child member of the Village Child Committee (VCC) Morjim – Shreya Fadte and Siolim VCC member- Teacher Kashmiri and CRG members.

Some of the issues that were raised at the Consultation were the need for:

§        Setting up of Special Juvenile Police Units

§        Setting up of a Children’s Unit in the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour and to avoid admitting children into the adult ward

§        Introducing community service as an alternative to detaining children in the Children’s Home

§        The Children’s Court to sit on a regular basis to prevent delays in justice

§        Victims’ Assistance Units be set up urgently by the government

§        Child Protection Policy to be adopted by all children’s homes and child care institutions

§        Promotion of child friendly tourism

§        Village and City Child Committees to be set up

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