3 February 2023
By Rehan Piracha
Educational institutions in Islamabad are to decide any complaint of corporal punishment and abuse within 15 days, according to rules notified for the Islamabad Capital Territory Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Act 2021.
The committee is to organise awareness sessions for the children to provide them with information and awareness about child rights and the prohibition of
córporal punishment. Besides, it will also coordinate with stakeholders for the safety, protection and betterment of the child. The committee will engage in corporal punishment-free advocacy campaigns. The committee is bound to handle all reported cases of child maltreatment with sensitivity and confidentiality keeping in mind the best interest of the child. It will take measures to create a protected environment of trust, support, and balance for the prevention of child abuse in the educational institution.
Lodging of complaints
Under the rules, a complaint against corporal or physical punishment in an educational institution can be registered with its prohibition of corporal punishment committee by a child, parent, guardian, or next of kin. The committee can also consider anonymous complaints that provide corroborative evidence of corporal and physical punishment or abuse.
The committee will investigate and decide on the complaint within 15 days after it is received. It can also refer the complaint to the appropriate authority which may further investigate the case before taking any decision against the accused person. In cases of severe child abuse, exploitation, and violence, the committee will immediately inform the police or a relevant officer of child protection authority in Islamabad’s capital territory for immediate action under the applicable laws.
The prohibition committee will conduct an inquiry or investigation into cases of corporal or physical punishment or abuse in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the child and maintains the integrity of the process.
The rules also provide for temporary shelter or safe accommodation to victim children subjected to corporal punishment or abuse. The committee is to approach the social welfare department and its child protection units to make arrangements for immediate temporary protection and safe accommodation of the child.