Three child-friendly police stations to open today

Three child-friendly all-women police stations (AWPS) will be inaugurated in Tiruvallur district on Monday.

The first child-friendly police station in Tiruvallur will be inaugurated by Maheshwari Ravikumar, Tiruvallur Collector, and P. Aravindan, Superintendent of Police, Tiruvallur on Monday.

There are five AWPS in the district and in the first phase three police stations — Tiruvallur, Tiruttani and Uthukottai — will have child-friendly spaces. It is being done jointly by the district police and the International Justice Mission (IJM).

“The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, and Juvenile Justice (Care Protection of Children) Act, 2015, says that every child, including child offenders, must not only be given due protection and care but also be approached in a friendly manner, “ said M. Devasitham from IJM.

Influx of children

He said of the 1,269 women who approached the AWPS in Tiruvallur district this year, 640 came with their children. “This prompted Mr. Aravindan to set up child-friendly corners in the stations,” he added.

The walls of the child–friendly corners will be painted with cartoons. It will have toys and food for the children, and there will also be a caretaker.

“If the parents are brought for inquiry or to lodge a complaint, the children will be taken to these corners and kept there till the process is over,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Special Wing for Women and Children, Chennai, has instructed all the 35 AWPS in the city to have child friendly corners at the earliest. “The MKB Nagar police station has such a facility. But we have instructed all the police stations to set up such spaces. This will be done at the earliest,” H. Jayalakshmi, Deputy commissioner of Police, said.

Last resort

M. Andrew Sesuraj, co-ordinator, Loyola Knowledge Hub for Excellence in Child Protection, said that ideally children should not be brought to the police station. “If there is no other way, they should be taken to the child-friendly spaces,” he said.

“This spot should be away from the intimidating atmosphere of a police station. The suspects and lock up area should not be visible from the child friendly zones,” he said.

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