Both are being piloted in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad districts with the support of NGOs
Taking a cue from the success of the Kaval programme, the Women and Child Development Department has launched two new initiatives to provide psycho-social support to survivors of child sexual abuse and children in need of care and protection.
Both these programmes are being piloted in Thiruvananthapuram and Palakkad districts with the support of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
In the case of survivors of child sexual abuse, only a few live in the 17 Nirbhaya Women and Children Homes run by the government. The rest, nearly 96%, return to their families or relatives. Often, it may not be in their best interests even.
While these children get support such as legal help, their long-term rehabilitation and holistic care does not get enough attention. The new programme ‘Community-based rehabilitation of survivors of child sexual abuse’ will provide survivors of child sexual abuse support through the community.
Focus will be on children who have faced sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, penetrative sexual abuse, and aggravated penetrative sexual abuse as per information from the district crime records bureaus.
Once the children are identified, the district child welfare committee (CWCs) will be intimated about the intervention and through the district child protection units DCPUs), the cases will be handed over to the NGOs.
Owing to the severity of the crimes against them, these children may experience a gamut of issues. First a psychosocial assessment will be held and individual care plans will be prepared to help overcome their problems, be it lack of familial support; social stigma or isolation; physical, mental, or emotional problems; support to resume studies or opt for vocational training.
These efforts will help mainstream the abuse survivors living with their families, and not just those in the government’s homes.
Interventions will be made in the case of 150 survivors in Thiruvanananthapuram district and 100 in Palakkad.
The second programme ‘Kaval Plus’ is targeted at children in need of care and protection, that is high-risk children. First, children living in unsafe environments, those with alcoholic parents, with mental health issues, dropouts, and so on will be identified with the support of community-level workers such as ASHA and anganwadi workers. In the case of mild and moderate cases, school counsellors will intervene to provide them protection.
Severe cases will be presented before the DCPUs and CWCs before an assessment of the children is conducted and individual care plans prepared for intervention by the NGOs in a multidisciplinary manner with the support of an array of stakeholders.
Social Justice Director T.V. Anupama told The Hindu Kaval had shown that hand-holding of children in conflict with law could help in their rehabilitation and mainstreaming.
The need for a similar effort was felt in the case of survivors of child sexual abuse or children in need of care and protection to ensure their long-term rehabilitation.
Piloting the projects in two districts this financial year would help understand its scalability for expansion to other districts next year.