2 JANUARY 2020

Prevention Of Sexual Harassment & Abuse - Teachers & Students

BY NIVEDITA KRISHNA

In order to ensure schools are a safe place for both children and teachers and to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment perpetrated against children or teachers, schools are required to mandatorily implement the following legislations:


  • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act)
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 (POSH Act & Rules)


Compliances under POCSO


  • Penetrative/other sexual assault against children(a person < 18 years of age) by persons in the management/staff of an educational institution is punishable with imprisonment of 20 years extending upto the remaining life of the offender;
  • Obligation on any person with apprehension/knowledge of the likely commission of a sexual offence. to report to the police;
  • Failure to so report - punishable with imprisonment upto six months/ a fine/ both;
  • If a person-in-charge of an institution fails to report the commission of an offence by a subordinate under his control, the person-in charge is punishable with imprisonment;
  • Child protection safeguards to be implemented in schools - Child Protection Policy & expeditious complaints mechanism.


Compliances under POSH


  • Every employer (employing more than 10 employees) - to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee (ICC)- to address sexual harassment grievances of women employees;
  • ICC has jurisdiction over all types of employees - contract workers, part-time employees, interns, etc;
  • Employer to conduct annual sensitization/awareness workshop for all its employees to on healthy and safe workplaces for women;
  • Annual report to be filed with the labour commissioner regarding number of complaints received and addressed during the year;
  • Companies must include a section about POSH complaints in the included in the directors' responsibility statement, which forms a part of the company's annual report ;
  • Failure to comply with the POSH Act & Rules by an employer will attract a penalty of upto Rs. 50,000/-, imprisonment as well as withdrawal of applicable trade licenses;
  • In some states such as Telangana, Maharashtra the POSH ICC committee needs to be registered with the appropriate authority

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