The CSI, towards fulfilling our commitment to being and becoming a Child Friendly Church, has drafted the CSI Child Protection Policy. The draft has been unveiled among the children of the CSI in May 2019 and has been disseminated in two regional workshops for feedback and review. To further capacitate key people related to children and child care ministries who will take this forward in the regional levels and diocese levels, a capacity building workshop was conducted at CSI Centre between 6-7 September 2019 drawing 8 members from each language region.
The workshop opened with Rev Solomon Paul, Director in-charge of SEVA, briefing participants on the purpose of the gathering and the responsibility that tested with this group to henceforth take forward the CPP.
Ms. Aruna Stephen, Program Executive for the Girl Child Campaign introduced and invited Advocate Adhilakshmi Loganathan of Chennai high court to delve deeper into the details and implications of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act 2012 and Juvenile Justice Act 2015. Advocate Adhilakshmi took the participants through the salient features of the POCSO Act and JJ Act with practical examples from her legal experience and experience related to working with the Mahila courts, Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards in Tamilnadu. This session helped participants understand the complexities of the law and it's application as well as the implications for how the church and our institutions could practically comply with the provisions of these Acts.
The participants studied, in detail, the implementation section of the draft CSI CPP to identify any areas or issues not covered and made suggestions for modifications and additions. This exercise was carried out as group work where participants worked in language groups and were facilitated to compile all of their deliberations by Ms. Jessica Richard, Coordinator, Campaigns & Advocacy, CSI SEVA.
Participants led the opening of day two with songs and prayers. Mr. Daniel Solomon Raja, Senior Program Executive in CSI SEVA, facilitated a re-cap of day one to lead into the proceedings of day two. Understanding about “Being a Child Care-giver in Today's World" was an interactive session with questionnaires, input, discussions on Q&A from participants and viewing of a video on Child Sexual Abuse. Ms. Vidya Reddy, Founder Director of "Tulir", Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse (CPHCSA) was the resource person who facilitated this session and brought to the participants many points of learning and unlearning in our understanding about child sexual abuse as well as the need for Sexuality education among both children and adults.
This fruitful workshop ended with participants committing to send feedback on the policy draft and devising ways to take forward dissemination about the policy and planning programs for the advancement of the Church towards a child friendly space at their own local levels.
The program was coordinated by Girl child Campaign program executives Ms. Aruna Stephen, Ms. Merlin Jochebeth and Senior Programme Executive Mr. Daniel Solomon Raja, CSI-SEVA and ably assisted by Team SEVA.
Girl Child Campaign Team