Human Rights Club of VM Salgaocar College of Law (VMSCL) in association with Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN – GOA) organised a state level webinar titled ‘Emerging issues concerning women and children’s challenges, developments and a way forward’. The webinar constituted paper presentations followed by a panel discussion.
District and assistant sessions judge, North Goa, Pooja C Kavlekar presented paper on ‘Admissibility of electronic evidence in cyber-crimes against women and children’. She discussed the issue of admissibility of electronic evidence in crimes such as child pornography, online child abuse, online stalking cyber stalking, etc. During the course of presentation, she also made a mention of cyber defamation/morphing.
Assistant professor at VMSCL, Shruti Kamat Dalal also presented a paper titled ‘Roadmap of elementary education for HIV/AIDS children in India’. She expressed concern on the plight of this neglected section of society in availing of the benefit of reservation in first standard of private schools and central government schools to pursue free and compulsory education under the ambit of RTE legislation. She also suggested that this urgent attention of government and monitoring bodies for immediate action.
The panellists for the panel discussion constituted member secretary of Goa State Legal Services Authority, Sayonara Telles Laad; psychologist and project lead, Sangath (Goa and Pune), Prachi Khandeparkar and co-founder of SCAN-Goa, advocate, Emidio Pinho.
Laad mentioned that legal services institutions have created awareness even during pandemic times by reaching out to the victims in need of help. Added to this, even paralegal volunteers counsel the victims, assist victims by drafting their applications and sort out their issues.
Suggestions given by Emidio to ensure safety of women and children included sexuality education to be imparted from class five; convergence between law enforcement agencies; implementation of ICPS scheme and compensation scheme should be taken seriously by government and functioning of DCUPs should start as mandated under the Juvenile Justice Act; protection policy for all institutions catering to children and women; regular burnout session cum awareness session for police, public prosecutors, doctors and other stake holders; reporting to be made simpler and mandatory for all stakeholders and accountability of all working for this vulnerable group.
Khandeparkar gave tips to handle young children and also school-going children and adolescents. From the parents’ point of view, she mentioned that healthy parenting and communication, engaging in interactive play activities, practicing mental health hygiene, maintains consistent routine, promoting health behaviour, praise good behaviours, being positive role models and practising adaptive coping is a must.
From the teachers’ and school counsellors’ angle she said educating about COVID-19, mental health promotion, coordinating with parents, referring to mental healthcare professionals and life skill training is need of the hour. She also stated from paediatricians’ point of view that screening of vulnerable children, educating parents about developmental needs of children, managing mild stress and anxiety in children, referring to mental healthcare professionals is essential and from the peer group she specified about providing supporting role and problem-solving.
The discussion was moderated by assistant professor VMSCL, Ameya Nayak. The webinar provided an interactive interface for the participants to raise their questions.