New Delhi: A “Guidebook for Creating a Child Friendly and Protective Environment for Children in Contact with Railways’, developed by National Commission for protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in collaboration with Railway Children India, was launched at an event held at the Habitat World today. The document will serve as a framework to develop child friendly environment at all Railway Stations.
In the same event, Information Education Communication (IEC) Materials on child protection for children in contact with Indian Railways developed by NCPCR in consultation with Indian Railways and those developed by “Save The Children” were also launched to create awareness/alertness among the people and stakeholders.
Shri Ashwini Lohani, Chairman, Railway Board, emphasised that the issue of care and protection of distressed children needs to be handled with sensitivity. There is an urgent need to create mass awareness about this issue. He mentioned that in this direction, a large scale awareness campaign on sensitisation of the entire railway staff and other stake holders like porters and vendors at stations would be launched from 8thJune 2018 in collaboration with NCPCR.
On this occasion, Ms. Stuti Kacker, Chairperson, NCPCR expressed that ‘there is a need to protect children who have run away from abusive situations at home or are lost and have reached railway platforms as they are extremely vulnerable to abuse by strangers’. The Guidebook for Creating a Child Friendly and Protective Environment for Children in Contact with Railways will fill the gap in the whole ambit of child protection at railway stations.
Shri Dharmendra Kumar, Director General (RPF), acknowledged the training workshops being conducted by RCI. He highlighted that the RPF monitors this activity on daily basis and has rescued nearly 35,000 children in last four years. Shri Kumar also shared the work and services offered by Child Help Desk at various railway stations.
Shri Navin Sellaraju, Director, Railway Children India emphasised on the need to leverage all strengths of civil society organisation, NCPCR and Railways for strengthening child protection mechanism at railway stations.
It is estimated that every five minutes, a child arrives alone at a railway station in India. As a result, he/she is vulnerable and exposed to several risks and abuse. It is important, therefore, to strengthen the existing child protection mechanisms at railway stations.The launching of ‘The Standard Operating Procedure for Railways to ensure care and protection of children in contact with Railways’ (herewith SOP) by Indian Railway, MWCD and NCPCR to address the protection of ‘children who are in contact with railways’ in 2015 served as a pioneering document in successfully protecting children. However, there are many stations where the SOP is still to be launched and the guidebook will fill up this gap.