Social defence dept to come out with common SOP for officials handling POCSO Act
The consultation meeting held recently will help us understand the ground reality. Though all departments have guidelines for implementation of the POCSO Act.
CHENNAI: The Directorate of Social Defence (DSD) with other key departments are currently working on releasing a common Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for effective implementation of Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act.
A higher official with DSD noted that the need for such a SOP has come up to keep all departments in proper loop and to make the officials of these departments understand the dos and don'ts of the Act, both on paper and in implementation.
For this purpose, DSD recently held a meeting with the Minister of Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Department P Geetha Jeevan and other higher officials of departments like the health, education, police and judiciary. This is by nature a consultation meeting with officials.
Speaking to DT NEXT, the DSD official said, "The consultation meeting held recently will help us understand the ground reality. Though all departments have guidelines for implementation of the POCSO Act, there are no common SOPs for officials of all departments combined."
"And, more importantly, one department is largely unaware of the other department's responsibilities, thus calling for a combined SOP," the official added.
This SOP besides bringing uniformity in procedures is also aimed at increasing the conviction rates under the Act.
"After the previous month's meeting, we have asked for a one-month time, during which we will train government officials of all vital departments on SOPs for effective implementation of POCSO. And, also asking the officials on the difficulties they are facing," the DSD official noted.
"We will be meeting in September last week again, followed by a meeting with the minister in October. After which, we will come out with a common SOP for handling POCSO cases at the earliest," the official noted.