Centre drafts child protection policy

• The Supreme Court had asked the centre to consider framing the national policy on protection of children.

Key highlights of the draft policy:

• Application of the policy: The policy will apply to all Institutions and organisations including corporate and media houses the government or private sector.

• As per the policy, all organisations must have a code of conduct based on zero tolerance of child abuse and exploitation.

• The policy requires organisations to lay down that employees don’t use language or behaviour that is inappropriate, harassing, abusive, sexually provocative, demeaning or culturally inappropriate.

• Institutions should also designate a staff member to ensure that procedures are in place to ensure the protection of children as well as to report any abuse.
• Any individual who suspects physical, sexual or emotional abuse must report it to the helpline number 1098 or police or a child welfare committee.

What it’s needed?

• Unlike the national child policy 2013, the latest draft doesn’t talk about children who may need additional Special Protection measures.

• Left out: It also doesn’t include provisions for protecting those affected by migration, communal or sectarian violence or children forced into begging or who are in conflict with the law and those infected with HIV/AIDS.

• The draft talks about organisations laying a code of conduct, but it doesn’t explain what is acceptable behaviour such as the conduct of teachers in schools.

Way forward

• The Policy should address four aspects- creating awareness, prevention, reporting and responding. The draft needs to go into all these aspects, especially reporting structure involving various nodal bodies and monitoring mechanism for implementation of the guidelines.

• The policymakers should take the opportunity to go beyond the role of Institutions and look at the role of individuals.

• The norms should be designed in such a way that organisations can customise the policies according to the nature of their work.

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Mains Paper 2: Governance| Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of the vulnerable sections.

Prelims: Not Much

Mains level: Facilitating more ease for reporting child sexual abuse cases.

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