Why is it important to give ‘rights’ to our children instead of advocating an assistance based approach where the welfare of children arises out of sympathy? Our perception of child rights and the process of implementation of these rights transforms the quality of life that we deliver to our children. In understanding these rights, we must adopt an omnichannel approach. On one hand, we must hold the ‘duty bearers’ accountable, this includes the legislation, police, civil servants and basically all workers affiliated with the government. On the other hand, we should educate our children to know their rights and encourage them to call out violations. However, these two pillars of child rights can only be built on the foundation of a society that brings these laws to life with an approach guided by awareness and respect.
Child rights violation is a pressing concern for our nation to address. Sadly, The Economic Times reported over 92,000 calls against violence were received by the child helpline number in the first 11 days of the national lockdown in 2020. You can also reach out to the national child helpline number at 1098 to seek legal help or help spread the word and make these rights accessible to all children. While reaching out is crucial, knowing your rights will help you speak from a place of awareness rather than helplessness. One such law that ensures justice to these children is known as Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), 2012. This law protects children from rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and using the child for pornographic purposes. While laws are enforceable in courts, protection can only be ensured when laws are implemented and socially advocated.
In the revolution for serving the best interests of children, we must identify the root causes of the problem.