If you’re the parent of a school-going child, and terrified about the stories of child abuse and invasion of children’s privacy that were reported in the recent past, take heart. The Ministry of Women and Child Development is coming out with a set of guidelines and rules to cover all exigencies – or at least those that have been witnessed so far.
The ministry is likely to notify guidelines for parents, teachers and even children on such issues. The guidelines will cover physical and medical examinations in schools and orphanages, safety arrangements to be in place for ‘after-school classes’ and systems on encouraging children to report abuse of any form.
Joint Secretary, Child Welfare, Loveleen Kacker, told Hindustan Times, "The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Rules, which we had sent to the law ministry for approval, are expected back any day. We propose to include these Do’s and Don’ts as a part of the JJ Rules and will issue the gazette notification. The rules will become effective in about 30 days."
On Wednesday, Hindustan Times had reported the setting up of an unprecedented high-level inquiry committee by WCD Minister, Renuka Chowdhury, who was horrified after meeting the parents of a 10-year-old boy. The victim had been sodomised for over 18 months, by three school staffers, at knife-point.
A recent case, which did not classically fit the definition of intentional abuse, was reported when a study purported to be for medical research, conducted at Sardar Patel Vidyalaya in Delhi, required minor boys to strip and have their genitalia examined for abnormalities.
Kacker says that one of the new guidelines being issued is "that there shall be no physical or medical examination of a child at a school, residential school, orphanage or any care-giving institution without prior, informed, written consent of the parents or local guardian of the child."