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Isha Jain| TNN | Jun 29, 2016, 01.10 AM IST
Lucknow: The city will soon have a child-friendly special juvenile police unit (SJPU) to register and act on cases of children in distress. Along with Lucknow, nine other districts will boast of the model SJPUs being established jointly by the Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University and UNICEF as part of the project – strengthening child protection system in UP.
The child-friendly SJPUs will be established simulatenously in Kanpur, Gorakhpur, Agra, Shravasti, Ghaziabad, Mirzapur, Allahabad, Varanasi and Bareilly. State government's home department has recently issued a letter to all police chiefs of these 10 districts to start working on establishing model SJPUs in a phased manner. The pre-assessment of SJPUs in these districts has already been done by RMLNLU.
The SJPU, headed by a police officer not below the rank of deputy superintendent of police, will handle cases of children in conflict with law as well as those in need of care or protection, and a social worker at the SJPU will be the first line of intervention in all cases, as far as possible, said KA Pandey, project director.
UNICEF's child protection specialist Aftab Mohammad said, "The SJPU will function as a watchdog for providing legal protection against all kinds of cruelty, abuse and exploitation of children and report instances of non-compliance for further legal action." "These units will work with voluntary organisations, local governing bodies and community based organisations in identifying cases requiring intervention," he said.
Constituted under Section 107 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the SJPU will sensitise the police personnel in better handling of the children, said Pandey.
The draft rules under the JJ Act, 2015 provide for a separate place/office space for the SJPU. This space shall be child-friendly with separate waiting area with toys, games and beds, etc. The child's privacy shall be maintained and there would be provision for a separate toilet for exclusive use of children, says the Act.