05 November 2018
Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government in 2014 had issued guidelines to ensure a child safe environment in educational institutions with a standing instruction to all the authorities to implement the same within two months of its issue Despite that the safety of little kids still remains in serious jeopardy in the State.
Thus, Director-In-Charge of Childline in Bhubaneswar, Benudhar Senapati filed a petition today to Chairperson of Odisha State Commission for Protection of Child Rights for implementation Child Safety Policy in all schools of Odisha.
The letter mentions, “As you are aware, child sexual abuse has become a burning issue in our state which needs your immediate intervention. As per government India study, 53 per cent of children in India are sexually abused and Odisha ranks fourth in the worst list of child abuse.”
“Nearly 36 lakh children in Odisha face sexual abuse among which 53.94 per cent are boys and 47.06 per cent are girls. Lack of awareness and grievance redressal mechanism in the school, help the staff and old children take advantage of these innocent children and abuse them,” added the letter.
In view of this situation Govt of Odisha issued mandatory guidelines for all schools on October 23, 2014 with a standing instruction to all the authorities to implement the guidelines within two months of its issue. “But unfortunately no school in Odisha follows the safety policy laid down in the said guidelines,” states the petition.
“In early 2018, CWC Khordha passed a standing order directing all ten Block Education Officers of Khordha district to implement the Child Safety guidelines in all schools. But unfortunately the schools of Khordha district did not take any action to follow the guidelines due to inaction of district level education officers. As a result many cases of child sexual abuse come to light like the case of child molestation at Chandrasekharpur school,” informs the petition.
It concludes with the following five requests before the Commission:
1: The Commission should issue a standing directive all the District Education Officers (DEO) of all 30 districts of Odisha to immediately implement the Child Safety guidelines in all Government and Privately managed schools in their concern districts and submit the action taken report in 15 days time.
2: The Commission should direct the DEOs of all 30 districts to cancel recognition of schools in case of noncompliance of the directive within the specified time.
3: The Commission should ask for a status report to the Director. Elementary Education / Director, OPEPA on the implementation of the Child safety guidelines in the schools and direct him to take immediate step to implement it in all schools mandatorily.
4: The Commission should ask the Childline organizations working in all the districts of Odisha to support the schools of the concern district to implement the guidelines.
5: The Commission should instruct the Government of Odisha to conduct a study on child sexual abuse in Odisha and put the scenario in public domain and take necessary action on the issues comes up in the study.