Pune: Police lethargy in registering cases related to child abuse, ignorance of laws related to children, insensitive questioning, red-tape were some of the many issues discussed in the City Advisory Board’s virtual meeting of Childline, the 24-hour toll-free emergency helpline for children in distress, on Friday.
Anuradha Sahasrabudhe, director of Childline said many a times, despite the underage survivor of sexual abuse clearly giving statements about threat to their younger sisters if they continue to stay at home where the victim herself was abused, only the victim is taken to shelter leaving behind the others. She also cited cases, where police asked insensitive questions and delayed filing the first information report (FIR).
City police commissioner Amitabh Gupta refuted the allegations about police lethargy and ignorance of law. “POCSO cases are taken very seriously by the police. In fact, they are taken on priority by the police. There have been three rounds of training for all police officers in this regard and there is no ignorance about the law among the force. Hence, all these allegations of police lethargy or ignorance in POCSO cases are unfounded,” he said.
Demands were raised to appoint nodal officers for Childline in the police department, in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and the education department.
Grievances about delays in acquiring requisite funds were voiced at the meeting and solutions were sought.
It was also touched upon in the meeting how Childline was not made a part of the task force constituted by the Women and Child Development Ministry despite it being mandated by law. Female constables were also requested at all police chowkeys/stations in Pimpri Chinchwad.