The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) of South West Khasi Hills organised an awareness programme on child friendly services to children and their protection last week at Ranikor Market where around 60 people attended.
S S Passah, the District Child Protection Officer, presented a report on the low number of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cases in Ranikor civil sub-division during 2020 but this, he said, may be because the victims or the family members of the victims are unwilling to come forward to report the crimes.
“In a majority of cases, the prime suspects are people the child knows, such as a neighbour, family member, stepfather or even the biological father and this may be the reason for the unwillingness to inform the police,” Passah said.
He also talked briefly about the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 wherein Passah informed those present that there is a special cell in the police station, the Special Juvenile Police Unit, to process cases committed by juveniles.
One of the factors that could lead to many juvenile offences is the lack of proper education, DLSA panel lawyer Nosmi Hahshah said. Dropping out of school early can also lead to early marriage, she added.
The lawyer also talked about the Meghalaya Victim Compensation Scheme, whose objective is to provide relief to those who have suffered loss or injury as a result of a crime.