A Victim Friendly POCSO Court to Make Children Comfortable
- Muskan Khandelwal
- Published on 21 Feb 2022, 3:11 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
- A one-of-its kind victim friendly POCSO court has been established in the primarily tribal district of Mahabubabad
- To make children comfortable, a special ambience was created in the court with the aid of technology and cultural setting
- Facilities include playground, books and washrooms for children, and video conferencing facility for recording statements of child victims
- Victim Friendly POCSO Court in a Tribal district of Mahabubabad
To make court appearance comfortable for children, a victim friendly POCSO court has been established in the predominantly tribal district of Mahabubabad in Telangana. Court appearances can be a harrowing experience for young children. Most of the victims are already under trauma and they get traumatised further during the court proceedings. To prevent this, a POCSO court with a pleasant ambience and a comfortable environment was set up for children to feel at ease during their presence in the premises.
In an exclusive interview with Indian Masterminds, IAS officer K Shashanka (2013), who is the Collector of Mahabubabad district and IAS officer Abhilasha Abhinav (2018) the Additional Collector of Mahabubabad district, Telangana, spoke about the changes introduced to make the POCSO court child friendly, and the need and objective of such a court.
VICTIM FRIENDLY POCSO COURT
The victim friendly POCSO court in the primarily tribal district of Mahabubabad is one of its kind. Mahabubabad is a new district which has been formed recently in Telangana. The work of the court was executed by the municipality and RNB. The funds were given from the donors, MPLADS, district administration and municipality.
“POCSO Court is the mandate of supreme court and rules formed under POCSO act. The victim friendly court is certainly the most advanced POCSO court in a tribal region in Telangana,” said Ms. Abhilasha Abhinav.
She further said that it’s a feather in the cap of the Indian Judiciary to have such friendly victim court in a tribal and interior area.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 came into force with effect from 14 November, 2012, along with the rules framed thereunder. It is a comprehensive law to provide for the protection of children from the offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography while safeguarding the interests of the child at every stage of the judicial process by incorporating child-friendly mechanisms for reporting, recording of evidence and speedy trial of offences through designated special court.
100 CASES REGISTERED
The officer informed that more than 100 cases have been registered as per present statistics in the primarily tribal district of Mahabubabad, adding that the files have already been transferred to the court.
“Before the establishment of this victim friendly POCSO court, the cases were referred to our benches only. However, there were no separate or designated places for judgement in the district, so the cases used to go to the erstwhile district Warangal.”
Numerous challenges prop up when the victim is a child. It’s very hard for the sensitive souls to share the details of what happened with them. To make these challenges little easier, the administration established the victim friendly POCSO court.
“Any victim would feel alienated in court room ambience and they hardly come out to speak. We mostly see such thing in cases where the victim is a child under POCSO Act. To meet these challenges child friendly ambience is created with the aid of technology and cultural setting,” the Additional Collector told Indian Masterminds.
The Mahabubabad POCSO court is designed as the country’s first child friendly court in a tribal parliamentary constituency as a role model with number of additional facilities. These facilities include:
- Special entry for victim
- Playground and books for children with the availability of washrooms
- Video conferencing facility room for recording statements of the child victims
- Special room for screening the identity of the accused
- CCTV Cameras are installed everywhere in the court
- Child friendly ambience in the court room and court premises
CHILD SAFETY AWARENESS
The additional collector said that child safety awareness campaign is an ongoing process and activity. Legal service authority and women and child welfare department and the child welfare committee (CWC) is working together to spread awareness.
“The authorities have regular meeting, conduct awareness programmes and campaign in coordination. There is a child helpline number 1098 which is a national toll free number. Anyone who wants to lodge a complaint can contact on this number. The information is first shared to CWC and then it is referred to the legal services,” explained the officer.
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