NCPA launches community child protection project | Sunday Observer

NCPA launches community child protection project

In a bid to eradicate crimes against Sri Lanka’s children, the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) plans to rally the civil society into building a protective barrier around children. ‘Jana Pavura’ NCPA’s latest community mobilising initiative would be launched in Kurunegala District, on the 29th June, said NCPA Chairman, H. M. Abayarathne.

Jana Pavura program plans to establish Child Protection Committees in each of the country’s 14,022 Grama Niladhari (GN) divisions. The committee will consist of a minimum of seven members, said Abayarathne. While the Grama Niladhari and the Public Health Nurse will be ex officio members, one member each would be appointed from five civil society organisations, namely the Funeral Benefit Fund, Women’s Society, Youth Society, School Development Committee and the community’s ‘Samatha Mandalaya’. In addition, the committees would include a few volunteers, residents of each GN division.

Jana Pavura members will act as an alert group at the grassroots level. The objective of Jana Pavura is to empower the civil society and push them into action opposing atrocities against children, Abayarathne explained. “The responsibility of preventive action is vested in the civil society. For example, if travelling in a bus you see a girl-child being mistreated/molested, shouldn’t it be the passengers in the bus who first have to raise their voices against it?” he questioned.

NCPA officers will regularly train Jana Pavura members who will work together with the 300 plus NCPA Field Officers attached to the district level Local Government agencies. They would perform the task of providing both protective and curative assistance to child victims.

Meanwhile, “NCPA activities would be themed as ‘Children are Ours’ to bring in a paradigm shift in the thinking of people,” said Abayarathne.

“We make distinctions between ‘my child’ and ‘their children’. We don’t care what happens to ‘their children’, as long as ‘my child’ is safe. This thinking needs to change,” he stressed.

Kurunegala, one of the districts with the highest number of complaints to the NCPA helpline, is selected to launch the mobilising and awareness creation program revamping its School Child Protection Committees, to broaden awareness creation activities.

Meanwhile, NCPA would take more effective action against perpetrators of crimes against children, said Abayarathne.

For each of the complaints made to NCPA helpline, the special police team would investigate and provide an initial report within 48 hours. The NCPA Field Officer, attached to the Local Government Authority, would investigate the situation and submit a report within 14 days. Evidence including video evidence would be recorded and the child victim and the family would be provided with psycho social support. Before further action regarding the child is taken, a case conference would be called for. It would have representatives from the family, the NCPA Field Officer and other officials as necessary, the Police and any other related officials as the Government Medical Officer, Probation and Child Care Officers. In the meantime, NCPA would also file action and carry out the necessary legal process to punish the perpetrators of crime against the child victim, he said.