‘Child Rights Clinic’
V.M. Salgaocar College of Law
Director: Dr. Kim Rocha Couto
Associate Director: Dr. Ranjana Ferráo
The Child Rights Clinic of V.M. Salgaocar College of Law is the first clinic of its kind in the State of Goa which brings the law students and the children of the community closer together. Established with the avowed objective of building a ‘child- friendly’ society in the State, the Clinic steers and inspires children to defend their rights. The Clinic is a part of the clinical legal education program of the college aimed at moulding law students into professionally competent and socially responsible citizens.
The Clinic is a live-clinic where the students under the guidance of their faculty, offer legal assistance, advice and facilitate access to justice for children whose rights have been violated. Students of the clinic are trained in various aspects of child laws and are given practical exposure regarding the application of such laws. They also receive training in providing legal and para-legal services to children or the latter’s parents/guardians in court proceedings. Students also have the opportunity to have a first–hand experience of the procedure followed in the Children’s Court/Juvenile Justice Board and the other quasi–judicial bodies for the protection and welfare of children. Besides training, students also get an opportunity to undertake research and assist in the drafting of legal documents concerning children. Students are selected as a part of their training programme based on their interest and commitment. The Faculty-in-charge oversees the functioning of students and offers advice, guidance and support to them.
The Clinic is more than an out-reach program for children. While it facilitates access to justice for children, it also creates awareness among children about their rights and the measures available for their protection. It also provides an excellent learning opportunity for law students who are familiarized not only with child-laws, but the procedure and the justice-delivery agencies for children.
More importantly, the Clinic also provides a number of benefits to various sections of society. The Clinic provides referral services to children whose rights are violated and assists the parents/guardians of such children with advice and compliance with necessary formalities. Apart from legal advice and assistance, the Clinic undertakes the audit of child laws and research activities. The Clinic focuses mostly on school-related violations and abuse in familial environments but also participates in cases involving the well–being of children.
The Clinic works in close association with the Victim Assistance Unit of the State, the Children’s Court, Juvenile Justice Board, Child Welfare Committee, and the Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Goa State Legal Services Authority, and other child-justice delivery agencies in the State of Goa.
The Clinic functions regularly at the College under the guidance and supervision of the faculty. The Clinic liaises with the Children’s Court, the Juvenile Justice Board (JJB), Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and other child–protection agencies for addressing child protection issues effectively.
- Assistance is provided directly to child victims or other needy children, on receiving any complaint of child rights violation.
- On the dates prior to the hearing before the JJB, CWC or the Children’s Court, the students who are selected, schedule a pre–trial visit to the court for the child, to familiarize it with the court set up.
- Children are explained the procedure and their expected role.
- Students also provide legal assistance to young offenders under faculty supervision, and guide them regarding the proceedings before the JJB. Referral services are provided wherever necessary.
- Students under the supervision of the faculty members, draft the necessary legal documents on behalf of the child for submission before the concerned authorities.
- Students are required to submit a report on each of their learning sessions.
- Students who are enrolled with the Clinic are encouraged to learn to use their skills and knowledge to assist children in achieving justice and reaching a solution to their problem.