SC for short clips in cinemas, TV for child abuse awareness

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New Delhi, July 25 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed on a suggestion to screen a short clip on prevention of child abuse and prosecution of crimes against children in every movie hall and on television channels.
In a report submitted to the court, senior advocate V. Giri, an amicus curiae in the PIL registered by the court under the title “In re Alarming Rise in The Number of Reported Child Rape Incidents”, said: “A short clip intended to spread an awareness of the subject in general, namely, prevention of child abuse and prosecution of crimes against children, should necessarily be screened in every movie hall and could also be transmitted by various television channels at regular intervals.”
He also suggested including having a child helpline number in this clip along with having it displayed at prominent places, schools and other public places.
Agreeing to the suggestion, the court, in its order, said: “The following suggestions of the learned amicus curiae shall also be implemented by the Ministry of Women and Chlid Development through such agency as may be considered appropriate.”
Svadha Shankar, who assisted Giri on the matter, said the awareness through this clip will leave a long-lasting impression on people’s mind. “Films and television channels is the best medium to spread awareness on the issue. These platforms engage millions every day. It will definitely help the cause,” said Shankar.
The court observed that it is essential to ensure timely completion of investigations and consequential trials in the offences under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
The set directions issued by the court include setting up of exclusive/designated courts under Centre’s scheme, child friendly court staff and infrastructure, and appointing officers having academic qualification in child rights or expertise in the same.
The court directed the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories to ensure that the above direction of the Court is complied with forthwith. “We would expect our above stated directions to be implemented and exclusively designated courts to try offences under the POCSO Act, in terms of the above directions, to start functioning within 60 days from the date of the present order,” the court said.
The court has listed the matter for further hearing on September 26.

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