GUWAHATI, Aug 6 - Expressing grave concern over the safety and security of children in child-care institutions (CCIs) in Assam in view of the reported sexual abuse of children in one of the most reputed CCIs not only of Assam but of the country and internationally, Adolescent and Child Rights Network Assam (ACRNA) � a network of organizations working on the issue of adolescents and child rights � today said that the reported incident was not the first incident of sexual abuse in a CCI in Assam and therefore warranted adequate focus and intervention from the State government.
Police had yesterday arrested T Vaithei, assistant director of the SOS Village at Azara here, on charges of sexually molesting three minor girls (inmates) inside the shelter campus.
The incident at the SOS Village came close on the heels of horrifying revelations of sexual abuse of minor girls in child-care homes in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
ACRNA emphasized, among other things, on orientation, training and refreshers training of all service providers, including administrators in the CCIs on the various legal provisions which they needed to be aware of, and on how best to deal with the children in their respective CCI,� Dr Chiranjeeb Kakoty, Coordinator, ACRNA, told The Assam Tribune.
�Constitution and activation of children committees in all CCIs and regular meetings of these committees and necessary follow-up by the State is another urgent need,� he added.
ACRNA also submitted a memorandum to Jishnu Baruah, Principal Secretary to the Government of Assam, highlighting its suggestions for creating a safe environment in child-care homes.
The recommendations included constitution and activation of CCI management committee and regular meetings of the committees and necessary follow-up by the State government; constitution and activation of monitoring committees for frequent supervision and hand-holding visit to CCIs and confidential one-to-one interaction with the inmates; and ensuring functional telephones (landlines or mobiles) with necessary safety measures so that any/all emergency numbers can be accessed by any inmate of the CCI for any emergency/crisis.
�These telephones need not be under the direct supervision of the CCI administration as the children, out of fear, will not be able to make calls to these emergency numbers � particularly to speak about sensitive issues,� Dr Kakoty said.
Other recommendations included installation of CCTVs strategically and ethically inside the CCI and its premises; timely release of funds to the CCIs so that funds do not come in the way of proper implementation of the various provisions of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme and additional safety and security measures which are in the CCIs.