Thursday, December 16, 2010

Seminar on Best Practices in Investigation & Prosecution of Sexual Offences Against Children

 While only a minuscule number of  child victims of sexual violence and their families are   formally within the purview of the criminal justice system (CJS), increasing engagement with it has brought attention to the gaps and lacunae in the investigative and  trial processes and procedures. Having to face the criminal justice system that is geared to the needs of adults can be a difficult experience for any victim of crime. When it comes to affected  children the experience can be doubly traumatic, thereby seriously undermining the full respect of the rights of the child. At the very least it can be intimidating. The Police, Doctors, Forensic scientists and  Public Prosecutors each have an unique but integrated role in responding to reported cases of sexual offenses against children.To that end it is imperative that these duty bearers in Chennai  identify and address existing lacunae, share best practices and evolve simple  and uniform  protocols and proceedures   to efficiently handle cases of sexual violence against children.Tulir organized  the Seminar at the Modern Control Room, Commissionarate of Police, Chennai.
Joint Commissioner ( South) Mr Sakthivel's  inaugural address  set the tone for the deliberations relevant observations  which were followed by presentations  and Q & A. The eminent panel - Dr Santhakumar, Director of Forensics and Dr Selvakumar, Asst. Prof. Madars Medical College, Ms Tara from the Forensics Sciences Laborartory and Mr Panneerselvam, Addl. Public prosecutor, shared their expertise and clarified  the queries from the particpants who represented multiple disciplines.
Concrete and viable reccomendations  will be forwarded to appropriate authorities for consideration.
Dignity on Trial, A report by HRW on "India's need for Sound Standards for Conducting and Intepreting Forensic Examinations of Rape Survivors", was  distributed, and we were very pleased that Ms Aruna Kashyap, author of the report partcipated in the Seminar and shared her views.

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