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16 districts of Odisha have child-friendly police stations

Representational image. A child-friendly police station in Garabandha in Odisha's Gajapati district (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@WCDOdisha)

The Odisha Police has gone in for a major makeover as 16 police stations in the different districts of the State have now been upgraded to have child-friendly amenities and ambience in its premises.

Tusharkanti Behera, the Minister of State for Home inaugurated these police stations virtually yesterday. One such child-friendly unit was started at Bhubaneswar’s Crime Against Women and Children Wing (CAW&CW) police station.

The other districts where such facilities have been launched include are Jagatsinghpur, Padmapur in Bargarh, Jajpur Road, Jharsuguda, Nayagarh, Aska, Soro, Bhawanipatna Sadar, Rairangpur, Deogarh, Rourkela Sector 19, Dhenkanal town, Keonjhar town, Nalco in Angul and Binika in Sambalpur.

These stations are special as their aim is to make the children more comfortable during their visit to the station to lodge complaints and also drive away the fear of police.

The interiors of all these 16 stations have been painted with pictures to attract children. Apart from this, they have a library stocked with animated story books, soft toys, washrooms, swings, separate area for lactating mothers to breastfeed their babies, and other recreational facilities, including television, informed Rekha Lohani, the Additional Director General of CAW&CW.

Further, the officials and staff of these stations have been asked to educate and counsel the children about the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act, Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act and Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

Talking to media on the occasion, Behera said that such facilities will help in easing and removing the fear and mental pressure children have while visiting the police stations to seek help and justice.

To provide easy access to the complainants, the names and phone numbers of the child welfare officers will be prominently displayed in the police stations, the Minister said.

A helpline desk – Sampark – was also launched by the Minister at the CAW&CW office. This special helpdesk will address the issues of gender violence by providing psycho-social support to the victims of sexual violence, who face tremendous trauma post the incident.

The desk will help to empower gender violence victims to have access to professional psycho-social support.

Also read: All Odisha districts to have a child-friendly police station