PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM SEXUAL OFFENCE
Following the promulgation of The sexual harassment of women at workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and rules framed thereunder, an Internal complaints committee(ICC) for the School has been constituted under the guidelines and norms laid down by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and Others.
SCHOOL COMPLAINTS COMMITTEE MEMBERS
- Archana Sharma (President)
- Sunita Sharma (School Representative)
- Amrita Reshu (School Representative)
- Nanda Joshi (Social Activist)
- Sangeeta Maheshwari (Social Activist)
- Manju Bohra (Parent Representative)
We also conduct various “Gender sensitization” programmes, adolescence related programs and special activities from time to time:
Gender Sensitization workshop is being conducted on a monthly basis where Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) act is discussed. The teachers are trained to attend to adolescence related issues. They are primarily made aware to notice the behavior pattern of children. This particularly includes close monitoring of academic performance and psychological behavior, categorically in cases of sudden decline in performance, lack of interest, depression, aloofness etc. The teachers are educated on how to counsel a child if they notice such behavior pattern. They are also well trained to talk to parents on the subject of child sexual abuse from time to time.
In order to provide a safe, protective and conducive environment to our children for their overall development, we keep conducting workshops wherein children are taught to differentiate between good touch and bad touch. They are encouraged not to hide things and to report inappropriate behavior to their teacher. There is also a provision of COMPLAINT BOX in the School, where children can drop their complaints though we have not received any complaints so far.
The entire School premises and every Class room is under CCTV surveillance which is personally monitored by the Head of the Institution.
The objectives of the Committee are:
- Prevent discrimination and sexual harassment against women, by promoting gender amity among students and employees;
- Make recommendations to the chairperson for changes/elaborations in the Rules for students and employees in the Prospectus and the Bye-Laws, to make them gender just and to lay down procedures for the prohibition, resolution, settlement and prosecution of acts of discrimination and sexual harassment against women, by the students and the employees;
- Deal with cases of discrimination and sexual harassment against women, in a time bound manner, aiming at ensuring support services to the victimized and termination of the harassment;
- Recommend appropriate punitive action against the guilty party to the Chairperson.
Procedure for Approaching Committee
The Committee deals with issues relating to sexual harassment at CPS school. It is applicable to all students, staff and faculty. A complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment may be lodged by the victim or a third party.
Here it should be noted that according to the Supreme Court guideline Sexual harassment can be defined as “unwelcome” sexually determined behaviour (whether directly or by implication) as:
- Physical contact and advances
- Demand or request for sexual favours
- Sexually coloured remarks
- Showing pornography
- Other unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct of a sexual nature
The following is also sexual harassment and is covered by the committee:
- Unsavory remarks,
- Jokes causing or likely to cause awkwardness or embarrassment,
- Innuendos and taunts,
- Gender based insults or sexist remarks,
- Unwelcome sexual overtone in any manner such as over telephone (obnoxious telephone calls) and the like,
- Touching or brushing against any part of the body and the like,
- Displaying pornographic or other offensive or derogatory pictures, cartoons, pamphlets or sayings,
- Forcible physical touch or molestation and
- Physical confinement against one’s will and any other act likely to violate one’s privacy.
Procedure for dealing with complaints
- Filing of a complaint
- If any associate believes that she/he has been subjected to sexual harassment, such person may file a complaint with any member of the committee.
- The committee member on receiving a complaint will intimate the committee head. The committee head would arrange for a meeting within a day of receipt of the complaint for discussing the complaint raised.
- Every attempt will be made to get the complainant to provide the complaint in writing. The complaint shall include the circumstances giving rise to the complaint, the dates of the alleged occurrences and names of witnesses, if any. The complaint shall be signed by the complainant.
- Process of Enquiry
- The committee will ask the complainant to prepare a detailed statement of incidents/ allegations. The statement of allegation will be shared with the accused.
- The accused will be asked to prepare a response to the statement of allegations and submit to the committee within the given time.
- The statement and other evidence obtained in the inquiry process will be considered confidential.
- The committee will organize verbal hearings with the complainant and the accused.
- The committee will take testimonies of other relevant persons and review the evidence if necessary. The committee should ensure that sufficient care is taken to avoid any retaliation against the witnesses.
- During the enquiry process, the complainant and the accused would be expected to refrain from any form of threat, intimidation or influencing of witnesses.
- The committee will arrive at a decision after carefully and fairly reviewing the circumstances, evidences and relevant statements.
- The committee will ensure confidentiality during the inquiry process and will ensure that in the course of investigation a complaint:
- Both parties will be given reasonable opportunity to be heard along with witnesses and to produce any other relevant documents.
- Upon completion of the investigation, both parties will be informed of the results of the investigation.
- The committee will be empowered to do all things necessary to ensure a fair hearing of the complaint including all things necessary to ensure that victims or witnesses are neither victimized nor discriminated against while dealing with a complaint of sexual harassment. In this regard the committee will also have the discretion to make appropriate interim recommendations in relation to an accused person (pending the outcome of a complaint) including suspension, transfer, leave, change of work location etc.
- The investigation into a complaint will be conducted in such a way as to maintain confidentiality to the extent practicable under the circumstances.
- The committee will investigate and prepare an enquiry report with recommendation within 2 weeks of the complaint being filed.
- Once the investigation is completed, a determination will be made regarding the validity of the harassment allegation. If it is determined that harassment has occurred; prompt, remedial action will be taken. The committee will share the investigation details and the findings and agree on the applicable disciplinary action. This may include some or all of the following
- Restore any lost terms, conditions or benefits of employment to the complainant.
- Committee will take appropriate disciplinary action, up to, including termination against the accused. All related documents will be maintained in the associate’s folder, ensuring confidentiality.
This anti sexual harassment policy shall not, however, be used to raise malicious complaints. If a complaint has been made in bad faith, as demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence, disciplinary action which may include, termination will be taken against the person raising the complaint.
- Decision and Action
Once the investigation is completed, a determination will be made regarding the validity of the harassment allegation. If it is determined that harassment has occurred; prompt, remedial action will be taken. The committee members will share the investigation details and the findings thereof with the appropriate functional head and agree on the applicable disciplinary action. This may include some of all of the following:
- Restore any lost terms, conditions and benefits of employment to the complainant.
- Discipline the accused. This discipline can include demotion, suspension and termination.
The disciplinary action will be carried out by the concerned department. Such disciplinary action may include transfer, demotion or termination. All related documents will be maintained ensuring confidentiality.
- Policy Implementation and Review
The policy will be implemented and reviewed by the committee. The school reserves the right to amend, abrogate, modify, rescind / reinstate the entire policy or any part of it at any time.