In response to a surge in online crimes and social media abuse involving schoolchildren, the City police in Kozhikode district have initiated a collaborative effort with professional counsellors from various schools.
98 Trained Counsellors Equipped to Tackle Online Menace
A dedicated team of 98 counsellors has undergone specialized training, supported by the Digital De-Addiction Centre, focusing on professional strategies and actions to effectively address incidents of online crimes and abuse.
The move follows an alarming increase in students becoming either suspects or victims in cases registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. Many teenagers are falling prey to cybercrimes and online fraud due to a lack of awareness about the tactics employed by online fraudsters.
Police and Counsellors Unite to Safeguard Students Online
According to the reports, Assistant Commissioner (Special Branch) A. Umesh states, "Our intention is to reduce online crimes through field-level intervention by counsellors who are well-connected with students and can motivate them at the right time." The initiative aims to encourage prompt reporting of serious crimes observed in their surroundings, empowering counsellors to play a proactive role in safeguarding students.
The Social Policing Division will directly oversee the initiative, with training support from the Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. Mr. Umesh, also a master trainer for various police student projects, emphasizes the involvement of cybercrime specialists and psychologists to support school counsellors. The trained counsellors will, in turn, conduct ongoing awareness sessions in schools to educate students about online dangers such as pornography, digital piracy, online banking fraud, and other financial cheating cases.
Beyond tackling online crimes, the collaboration seeks to enhance the capabilities of school counsellors in dealing with juvenile delinquents and children previously in conflict with the law. The direct link with the police is expected to reduce incidents of concealing grave crimes due to pressure from school managements or parents.
One school counsellor welcomed the action plan, highlighting the confidence boost it provides to counsellors working in the field and the professional exposure gained.