Child-friendly police stations: Revival of SJPU at every police station in coastal districts


Team Udayavani, Oct 16, 2021, 10:00 AM IST

Mangaluru: The police department has plans to rejuvenate Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) at every police station in the Dakshina Kannada district.

This is aimed at making the police stations child-friendly when dealing with cases of children in conflict with the law.

The Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act), which is the primary framework which deals with juvenile justice in India, mandates SJPU units at every police station. But, the guidelines remained only in the law books. There were complaints that they did not exist to the fullest extent possible.

The purpose of the Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) is to provide justice to children in such cases under the JJ Act, to protect the rights of children in need of protection and care, and to take appropriate follow-up action.

In the backdrop of rising cases related to children, the department is now taking supplementary steps to ensure a functional SJP at every police station.

Structure of SJP:

The special unit shall consist of an officer of Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI) rank and a female head constable/female constable. There shall be a Juvenile/Child Welfare Office at every unit.

The Juvenile/Child Welfare Officers are trained by experts covering topics such as POCSO Act, J.J Act, Gender awareness, and Anti Human Trafficking.

Wherever the cases involve children (victims/accused), they should be handled only by this unit. It is the responsibility of this unit to coordinate with other institutions dealing with child protection.

Moreover, as per law, police have to be in plain clothes when visiting the home, hospital, or any other place for an interrogation of children. There has to be a designated children’s corner at the police stations too.

Handling of Juvenile cases

“Police primarily deal with cases as per IPC, CrPC. However, children in conflict with the law have to be dealt with under the JJ Act. This is only possible when there is a fully functioning SJPU. Otherwise,  handling of child-related cases at police stations will not be child-friendly,” says a leading figure involved in child protection and rehabilitation.

More than 150 cases in DK district

This year, more than 150 cases relating to abuse and crimes by and against children have been reported from the Dakshina Kannada district. More than 16 children have been rehabilitated and medical assistance has been provided to more than 12 children.

“Awareness about child abuse has increased. So more cases are coming to light. In this context, the SJPU’s are rebuilt systematically,” said Dr. Gana P. Kumar, senior child welfare officer, and  DSP Puttur.

 

By Santhosh Bolettu

 

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