Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi today launched an online complaint box for reporting child sexual abuse even as her deputy Krishna Raj was sceptical whether it will reach 70 per cent of child population in rural areas.
The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) e-Box is an online complaint management system for reporting sexual offences against children. It was launched by Gandhi in the presence of MoS Raj and National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) Chairperson Stuti Kacker among others.
Speaking at the event Raj said, “Those children who had no means of complaining will now have a medium to share their feelings through this e-box. Only then will we able to help them.”
“…But 70 per cent of children live in rural areas and we must worry about them as well. Don’t know whether this e-box will reach them or not. Our next step should be for those children in rural areas who are victims of sexual abuse but may not have access to modern gadgets.”
The facility is available on the NCPCR website. Anyone, a victim or an adult, can visit the website and file a complaint about a child facing sexual abuse. There are pictorial aides to make the procedure simple for young children.
Inaugurating the web tool, Gandhi said, “We started Childline in 1998. Today it receives 14 lakh complaints a month. The e-box is an extension of that. Any child or adult who wants to complain about a child who is being molested can avail of this.”
Explaining how this idea of an e-box was born she said, “It came out of a police initiative as part of which a police team went to a school and put a complaint box. They received 80 complaints. They picked out four complaints and all of them were complaints about close relatives. In such cases there is always a conspiracy of silence.”
Explaining the procedure, Kacker said, “Once a complaint is filed online our NCPCR member, designated to oversee this, will give a call back and ascertain the nature of the complaint. We will verify the facts and forward it to our grievance redressal department, which will share the details with the police.
Kacker also said depending on the response NCPCR could also develop a mobile application for the same.
The ministry’s press statement cited a study which said about 53 per cent of children surveyed reported having faced one or the other form of sexual abuse in their lifetime. In most cases, the offender is a family member/near relative or an acquaintance. PTI JC AAR ZMN AAR 08261731