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Events Corner

SAMVAD In Collaboration With The National Judicial Academy To Organize A National Review Consultation On POCSO Act, 2012 11th -12th Feb 2023

8 Feb 2023 1:55 PM GMT
Madhya pradesh high court, Section 16, 17 POCSO, Minor rape victim, aiding rape, requesting accused, not commit rape,

SAMVAD-NIMHANS is organizing a National Review Consultation On The Protection Of Children From Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 In Collaboration With The National Judicial Academy (11th -12th February 2023)

The National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), a tertiary care Mental Health Establishment, under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is an academic institution and a teaching hospital. SAMVAD (Support, Advocacy & Mental health interventions for children in Vulnerable circumstances And Distress), is a National Initiative & Integrated Resource for Child Protection, Mental Health and Psychosocial Care, established by the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India, and located in the Dept. of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, NIMHANS, Bangalore. With the aim of enhancing child and adolescent psychosocial well-being, through promotion of integrated approaches to mental health and protection, SAMVAD was established to extend its support and activities to all the states in the country. It comprises of a multi-disciplinary team of child care professionals, with expertise in training and capacity building, program and policy research pertaining to child mental health, protection, and law.

SAMVAD’s work on Child Sexual Abuse (CSA)

A major component of SAMVAD’s capacity-building and training work, in addition to program and policy research, has been in the context of child victims and witnesses in cases of child sexual abuse registered under POCSO. Apart from the trainings, capacity-building initiatives, and other online programs conducted by the SAMVAD Team, they also undertake direct field work in CSA cases. Key aspects of this work have included: i) extending psychosocial assistance to sexually abused children by accompanying and supporting them through legal processes (including recording of Police/Magistrate statements); and ii) assisting Central and State government agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), pursuant to orders passed by the Hon’ble Courts, in investigations relating to child abuse (in child care institutions).

A Review Consultation on POCSO

Enacted with the assent of the President of India on 19th June 2012, the POCSO law marked a new beginning in State-led efforts to comprehensively confront the perpetration and invisibilisation of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) in Indian society. As the POCSO Act completes a decade of implementation, it is imperative to engage in discourse on what has been a watershed event in the movement, in India, against child sexual abuse.

In light of the above, a Review Consultation has been developed by SAMVAD to take stock of new possibilities, and indeed, the challenges that remain ahead in terms of the future of this country's children i.e., with particular reference to their care, protection, and well-being, as envisaged by the POCSO law.

Therefore, as a part of SAMVAD’s initiatives for '10 Years of POCSO: Critical Reflections and Ways Forward', a 2-Day POCSO Review Consultation has been conceptualised and designed, in collaboration with the National Judicial Academy, to facilitate deliberation on the current dilemmas and challenges in the conceptualisation and implementation of POCSO, and more importantly, the way forward. The Consultation will be organised from 11th – 12th February 2023. The key thematic areas of concern to be deliberated upon by current and former Hon’ble High Court and Supreme Court Judges (including Hon’ble Juvenile Justice Committee Chairpersons and Members from High Courts across the country), in addition to Senior Police Personnel and Other Experts, include:

Theme 1: Looking Back on 10 Years of POCSO: Progress & Achievements

1.1. What do the Numbers tell us about POCSO Cases?

1.2. New Legislative Developments & Case Law on Child Sexual Abuse and POCSO

1.3. Prosecutorial Delays & High Pendency in POCSO Cases

Theme 2: How Far has POCSO Bridged the Gap in Children’s Access to Justice?

2.1. Dilemmas in POCSO’s Mandatory Reporting Provisions

2.2. The ‘Notoriously Dangerous Child Witness’: Evaluating Child Witness Competencies

2.3. The Abuse-Consent Conundrum: Adolescent Sexual Consent and the POCSO Act

Theme 3: The Imperative to Strengthen Investigative & Prosecutorial Processes in POCSO Cases

3.1. Gaps & Challenges in Child Sexual Abuse Investigative Processes

3.2. Areas for Capacitating Stakeholders in Child Sexual Abuse Investigations

3.3. The Role of the Prosecutor in POCSO Cases

Theme 4: Legal Implications of Child Psychosocial & Mental Health Issues: From Intent to Action

4.1. Re-imagining the Courtroom: India’s First Vulnerable Witness Deposition Complex

4.2. Integrating Mental Health and Law: Practice Methods in Pre-Trial and Trial Assistance to Vulnerable Child Witnesses

4.3. Re-thinking Appreciation of Evidence in Child Sexual Abuse Cases

Theme 5: Trial Procedure in Child Sexual Abuse Cases: Are there Imperatives for a Paradigm Shift?

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