Children have been perceived as significant members of families and the need to nurture and protect them have been culturally woven into the fabric of the diverse Indian society. However, our current reality is that not all children receive the care and nurture they are entitled to from their family and society, as there is widespread and rampant neglect, abuse, exploitation and discrimination of many children both at the individual family level and at the systemic level. This is because such cultural perceptions about children have also promoted a dominant ideology that children are ‘receivers’ of knowledge who need to be guided and directed through adult notions of what is ‘good’ for them. Therefore, if we have to ensure that children obtain their rights, there is an urgent need to shift the adult perspectives on children and they have to start accepting the children as right holders. This paradigm shift has to take place at the structural level primarily with adults first and next at the policy and programmatic levels both with adults, families and children.
The United Nations Convention on Child Rights, by declaring Right to Protection as an issue of child rights has provided some attention and obligation on the signatory states though much remains to be realized. Going by literal meaning, Child Protection would bring under its ambit numerous categories of children, whose security is at stake, reeling in situations of neglect, maltreatment, injury, trafficking, sexual and physical abuse of all kinds, pornography, corporal punishment, torture, exploitation, violence, and degrading treatment waiting for immediate attention and protection. To safeguard its children from any form of abuse, central government has enacted Juvenile Justice Act ( Care and Protection of Children) , 2015 and introduced schemes and programmes to take care of the children in need of care and protection as well as children who come in conflict with law.
Antakshari work on Juvenile Justice Act began with the initiative to develop understanding on Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of children) bill, 2014. A campaign along with UNICEF and other organization was organized to seek suggestions on new bill. The campaign resulted into 70 non-governmental organizations coming together and advocating for restoring of juvenile justice system, developing of position paper on JJ Bill for appealing amendments in the proposed bill. A set of recommendation for advocacy and incorporation in JJ Bill 2014 was drafted and sent to Government of India.
After this Antakshari has taken several initiatives in the area of Child Protection and some of the key initiatives taken are like improving governance on child rights, regular capacity building of child protection structures by providing class room training and onsite handholding training, enhancing knowledge of child protection through academia by developing online and offline courses, developing IEC material etc. Further to this Antakshari in its efforts has also developed an android based mobile application in name of Justice for children (J4C) for child protection structures and functionaries. The application offers wide variety of service on issues of Child Protection. To further support these structures and functionaries Antakshari also came up with concept of creating Child Protection support desk which would provide online technical guidance and hand holding support to the authorities.
Antakshari is also engaged in the process of rule making on Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act- 2015 and member of drafting committee for Rajasthan and other states. Further to this it has been matter of pride for Antakshari as one of the members has become member of Juvenile Justice Committee at High Court, Rajasthan.
All these efforts have lead to development of expertise for the team of Antakshari and leading to Antakshari becoming technical support agency Department for Child Rights ( DCR) and Child Resource Centre (CRC) – Harish Chandra Mathur Rajasthan Institute of Public Administration (HCM RIPA).