CAP House - State Resource Centre of Children and Police
Children are the greatest assets and the most precious treasure of any country. They are the bricks and rocks on which the future is built. They are on their path to assume key positions where they will make important decisions about the future of our country. India's greatest strength is its promising demography with one third of the population being less than 14 years of age. When a child develops in a positive and healthy manner, the entire community benefits on the other hand, if the child turns out to be a liability, the entire community may suffer.
Children require a healthy and supportive environment to grow and develop. All children have a right to live in dignity and to have an environment that is safe protective and productive. Article 39(e) of the Indian Constitution directs the state governments to work progressively to ensure that the tender age of children are not abused. Article 39 (f) further directs to ensure that children are given opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against any kind of exploitation.
Children are the most vulnerable sections of any society, especially those in societies like ours, that are undergoing rapid social and economic transformations. What a person is and what he/she will become is not solely a function of birth and genetics, but rather shaped by circumstances and personal experiences. According to National Crime Records Bureau crimes against children have recently rose by 20 per cent, which is many folds higher than the overall number of crimes which rose by 3.6 per cent.
India is among the top 5 countries with the highest rate of child sexual abuse. Report by the Asian Centre for Human Rights revealed that sexual offenses against children in India are at an epidemic level. Kerala is also witnessing an alarming rise in sexual offenses, against both young boys and girls despite stringent laws enacted to protect children in 2012. Strangers, friends, family members had all been perpetrators. Over 6,600 cases booked under the POCSO Act are pending in the State. Conviction rate in such cases is as low as 20%.
Children who are victims of violence show continuous symptoms of depression, dissociative reactions, feelings of helplessness, lack of emotional intelligence, and aggression. Emotional and psycho-social maltreatment destroys a child's sense of self and personal safety. Often such children fall into the clutches of anti-social elements and end up in a life of crime and violence.
Unhealthy deviations and delinquencies among children are not only on rise but also taking dangerous turns with unprecedented socio-economic transitions. Concern about an alarming rise in sense of insecurity and loss of purpose in life is being voiced from many corners. As per WHO report, about 20% of our adolescents have one or more behavioral problems (WHO). According to the same report, great number of children are indulging in sending sexually provocative images and messages implying the destructive use of ICT. Substance abuse among adolescents is widespread and many are liberally consuming alcohol. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young adults. Many young adults are involved in violent criminal activities including rape, murder, robbery and so on. Tendency for religious and ideological radicalization is also evident among our children.
Kerala police instead of standing as mute spectators as the safety net around our children gets broken, has initiated various initiatives for the safety, security, protection and development of children. The nationally acclaimed Student Police Cadets Program (SPC), award winning program Our Responsibility to Children (ORC) program, Project Hope, Child Friendly Police Stations(CFPS)etc are to name a few.
Children and Police (CAP) is a first of its kinds ever initiative of Kerala police based on the realization that it is one of the fundamental duties of police is to create an invisible wall of protection around every child. CAP is a broad platform to strengthen the efficiency and reach of the initiatives mentioned above, so that abuse and violence against children are prevented and, their better protection and development are ensured. CAP facilitates constructive collaboration among police, various departments, governmental and non-governmental agencies working for the welfare of the children, general public and most importantly children. It recognizes the fact that problems faced by our children, most of the time not only go acknowledged, but are often unattended. Even if identified they are often unreported or unattended. In some cases they are attended very unscientifically, causing a damaging effect.
CAP House is envisioned as state level resource centre of Kerala Police, to further its commitment towards ensuring a conducive and nurturing environment for the children of Kerala by ensuring better implementation and coordination of its child related initiatives. It will facilitate an active interface between Kerala Police and the Women and Child Development Department for mutually strengthening each other interventions and initiatives. This note briefly describes the various facilities and activities of the CAP House.
CAP Call Centre CAP house will function as a call centre providing speedy information on various child related matters, with two distinct objectives for providing support to various functionaries of the CAP initiatives as well as general public.
For general public, the call centre will provide necessary information on the various initiatives of CAP and ways and means to associate with them. The facility will also encourage reporting of grievances and offenses against children as well as guidance on child related police matters such as registering FIR, reporting crimes and other matters.