The Sunday Leader

Bill On Child Protection Ready

By Waruni Karunarathne

The Children Judicial Protection Bill will be brought to Parliament very soon. Minister of Childrens’ Affairs Rosy Senanayake told The Sunday Leader the Children Judicial Protection Bill is now at the Attorney General’s Department and will soon be brought to Parliament.

“The Bill is now ready and it is at the Attorney General’s Department right now. It has gone for translations and very soon we will see that in Parliament,” she added.

She added that her Ministry together with the Child Protection Authority has also requested the Prime Minister to have a national policy on child protection and to have a special police division with trained police officers under DIG to look in to cases related to children.

According to her the CID is also looking into certain crimes – yet when it comes to women and children, she has requested a special police division.

“There is a juvenile court in Battaramulla. We have requested for more juvenile courts of similar nature. But creating infrastructure is going to take a while. My ministry together with the Child Protection Authority has made a request and they have spoken to the Justice Minister regarding these matters. We have asked at least to have a special day every week in the respective courts to hear only children’s cases,” Minister Senanayake added. She noted that it is very sad to see when children especially those who are under probation have to go to courts. She pointed out that these children are taken in prison vehicles – with all the hardcore criminals – and their cases are being heard in between the cases of hardcore criminals. Therefore she pointed out that there is a lack of sensitivity of judges and the relevant authorities as such environment is not conducive enough to hear those children’s cases and protect their individuality and privacy.

“Reportedly 1/3 of all the cases that are pending are some form of cases related to children. Therefore a special day to hear those cases can make them more sensitive when hearing those cases. If we can also create a mechanism to have some special courts at least in the major districts or provinces, especially in the North and East, then the children’s cases can be heard separately,” she added. Minister Senanayake also said that they have just set up a state of the art unit in the Ragama Teaching Hospital but need trained people. She further added that her ministry together with Justice Ministry, Health Ministry and several certain line-ministries will come in to play in creating infrastructure and giving necessary training. “We need to sensitize the people who are working with regard to these cases related to children and give these people proper training,” she said.

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