The full-day training session of Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Child Protection and POCSO Act involved screening the clippings of Alia Bhatt-starrer, Highway, to drive home the message of safeguarding children from the clutches of child sexual abuse.
In the movie, both the protagonists Veera (Alia Bhatt) and Mahabir (Randeep Hooda) have encountered sexual abuse in their childhood. The movie goes on to showcase how sexual abuse sees no caste, creed, social stature or kinship.
Based on the two clippings of the movie, Enakshi Ganguly, Co-Founder HAQ: Centre for Child Rights and Hon Professor National Law University, Odisha, spoke about safeguarding children under the POCSO Act, 2012.
Ganguly talked about child sexual abuse within the society, which, in most cases, was swept under the carpet. She explained the features of the POCSO Act which protects all children under 18 years of age.
She pointed out that the Act was gender-neutral and elaborated on the different forms of abuse ranging from sexual harassment to pornography to both penetrative and non-penetrative assaults.
She also talked about the correct approach to address such cases and reiterated the significance of creating a safe and supportive environment for all students within the school. Teachers were told to gain the confidence of students so that they could feel safe enough to talk about any form of sexual abuse.
The training session also had The Directorate of Sports and Youth Affairs as partner along with Goa SCPCR. Seventy-eight teachers attended the session to acquaint themselves with the Child Protection and POCSO Act conducted at the Institute Menezes Braganza in Panjim.
Jennifer Ferrao, Deputy Director of Sports and Youth Affairs, who inaugurated the session, said the valuable training will help acquaint teachers with the laws of the POCSO Act. "Every student is as dear as our child and we as teachers have always left no stone unturned to contribute to their growth and development and protect them from abuse," she said.
In the first session, on understanding the protection of children, Goa SCPCR Chairperson Peter F Borges detailed the role of teachers in ensuring the protection of children against abuse, exploitation, violence and neglect in a school setting. He cited that teachers should have updated knowledge of contemporary child protection issues.
The second session on Goa Children’s Act was delivered by Milena Gomes, Public Prosecutor of Goa Children’s Court. She cited various examples of cases involving crimes against children and highlighted the need for creating an ecosystem for building resilience and protection.