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Since the beginning of 2019, at least 125 complaints have been reported to the Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Right (ASCPCR) — including those concerning child marriage, child trafficking and child sexual abuse. Apart from these, there are many that go unreported.
This Children’s Day, November 14, as a remedy, the ASCPCR is launching Sishu Suraksha, a mobile application to lodge complaints on child rights violation, and address them in an appropriate and timely manner.
To file a complaint earlier, one would require to write a formal letter to the ASCPCR head office in Guwahati.
Available on iOs and Android platforms, the app can be used by anyone in the state to lodge complaints. The complaints, in turn, will be directly sent to the commission.
“Many times when people see a child in distress, they do not know what to do. They might go to police station, but many claim that they are either made to wait endlessly, or the Officer-in-Charge does not pay heed to them. Some have complained that the redressal or action takes too long,” The Indian Express quoted Sunita Changkakati, ASCPCR chairperson, as saying.
“This is where the app comes in — the user needs to just open the app, and key in their complaint in the ‘How To Lodge a Complaint’ section. And we will immediately intervene,” she added.
To lodge a complaint, one would require to detail particulars of the victim, the address, which police station they fall under and what kind of abuse or crime has taken place. Currently, the app has categories like child labour, child marriage, child sexual abuse, violation of rights and others.
The app is divided into four components – one is about the ASCPCR, another contains messages from the Chief Minister, the Social Welfare Minister, and the ASCPCR chairperson, while the third section is a photo gallery and the fourth is the complaint section.
“Soon there will be a fifth one, the complaint status or the ‘follow up’ section, where the user can check what steps have been taken so far with regard to his/her complaint,” said Changkakati.
According to Changkakati, when it comes to reporting cases of child rights violation, the biggest deterrent is that several people do not recognise violations.
“Many times, especially in school, things happen which might amount to mental abuse and distress. These cases often go unreported merely because people don’t realise the mental impact it’s having on children” said Changkakati.
National Crime Records Bureau data says that Assam is one of the top 10 states with maximum number of crimes against children. In fact, there has been a hundred percent jump between 2014 and 2016 (from 1,385 to 2,970).
Childline, the pan-India 24-hour children’s helpline, is currently in function in 11 out of 33 districts of Assam.
“However, with this app, anyone, in any district of Assam can use it — including the children themselves,” said Changkakati.
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