Legal Aid Programs

• Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

PCSJ settle disputes, out of court, through ADR methods of Negotiation, Persuasion, Motivation, and Conciliation & Mediation. The settlement of disputes is done in two ways.

• ADR daily at PCSJ office

Every day, disputes/cases are dealt with, in PCSJ office where the disputants are invited for amicable settlement. PCSJ has dealt with more than 6,500 cases and out of them 55% were settled. 26136 MACT (Motor Accident Claim) cases were registered of which 17932 cases have been settled through the mediation of PCSJ and the four general insurance companies have paid Rs.28,43,34,174/- as compensation to the aggrieved parties.

• ADR through Neethimelas/Lok Adalat

Lok Adalats/Neethimelas, Alternative Dispute Resolutions conducted on a mass scale at a particular place on particular day, are known as Lok Adalat/Neethimela. 1st Neethimela was inaugurated by Hon’ble Sri.Justice P.N. Bhagavathi, Chief Justice of India, at Erankulam in 1986. So far we have conducted 255 Lok Adalats/Neethimelas in different parts of Kerala.

• Free Legal Advice

PCSJ has been giving free legal advice to the needy irrespective of class, caste and religion. Retired Judges and experienced lawyers render free service here.

Free Legal Aid by engaging Counsels

PCSJ has been engaging advocates to conduct cases for the indigent. Emphasis is given to women, aged and urban and rural poor. PCSJ has a panel of advocates who are willing to extend their legal services for poor.

• Public Interest Litigation

Cases relating to Public Interest are taken up by PCSJ as and when required. We have received 261 Public Interest petitions and out of them and 29 we filed in the court

Legal Literacy Programs

Legal Literacy Mission of PCSJ

The Legal Literacy Mission of PCSJ was launched targeting the tribes, women, the children and other vulnerable group as the priority category. More than 1,000 classes/camps were conducted across Kerala.
The Legal Literacy Programmes are conducted by PCSJ in various forms:-

• Legal Literacy Classes/Camps

PCSJ has conducted legal literacy class/camps across Kerala mainly concentrating on Constitutional Laws, Laws Relating to Women and Tribes and Rights of Children, Consumer Protection Laws, Criminal Laws, Labour Laws etc. Experienced lawyers and retired judicial officers who are members of PCSJ handle classes

• Para-Legal Training Courses

PCSJ conduct Para-legal Training Certificate Courses of short duration ranging from 1 week to 3 months. We have so far conducted 33 Para-legal training course exclusively for Women, Tribals, Saksharatha workers, Neighbourhood groups of Corporation of Cochin, Trade Union workers, Kudumbashree members of Tsunami affected area and for general youth.

• Seminars & Workshops

Seminars & Workshops on socio-legal issues of current relevance have been conducted by PCSJ throughout Kerala. We have conducted more 315 seminars and 45 workshops out of which 188 seminars and 7 workshops are under the UNICEF and UNDP Projects in the Tsunami affected areas of Kerala.

Activities for Children

• Child - centered Programs

PCSJ undertakes various Child centered programs in line with UNCRC and as per the JJACT 2000 especially for the Children in conflict(JCL) with law and for the Children in need of care and protection(CNCP). Providing Counselling services for the children, both JCLs and CNCPs & for their Family members for rehabilitation & restoration programs, Organizing Recreation programs for them, awareness creation on Child Rights Laws are all being done by PCSJ.

• Life Skill Training Programs

Children are provided with Life skill training programs in order to cope up with the realities of life and the tragedies or unexpected disasters if any happens in oneslife and their near & dear ones.

• Awareneass Camps

PCSJ conducts awareness programs especially on UNCRC,JJACT, POCSO ACT, Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, RTE Act etc in schools, in Residential areas, for Kudumbasree members, general public and for children’s groups etc.

• Child Fest

PCSJ in association with likeminded organizations and Kerala Social welfare Department has organized child fest for the children of the orphanages of Ernakulam. It included both arts and sports items and the children who secured first ,second and third places in various items were given away prizes. It was a venue for children to exhibit their talents to the world outside.

• Adolescent Counselling

Adolescence is a time of turbulence with onset of puberty ,changes in the physical , mental and emotional status of Children. Many children find it difficult to cope up with these changes and PCSJ help them to tackle the situation with counseling.

• Mental Health Clubs for children

Under the Unicef project PCSJ formed mental health Clubs in schools to identify and support the the children at risk.

• Summer camps for Children

PCSJ used to organize Summer camps for children to boost their talents and to educate them in extra-curricular activities & life skill programs.

• Psycho-social support for tsunami affected children

PCSJ extended psycho social support to the children of the Tsunami affected areas of Kerala, such as Alappad of Kollam District, Arattupuzha & Andhakaranazhi of Alappuzha District and the Elakunnapuzha & Edavanakkad of Ernkulam District under the Unicef Project in association with Kerala State Social Welfare Department.

• Seminars on child rights & related issues

PCSJ conducts local level, state level and national level seminars on Child related Issues targeting specific groups.

• Workshops on child rights & related issues

When burning issues on Child rights come up , PCSJ organizes workshops on the issues mainly with stake holders so as to have the impact of advocacy and lobbying in favour of the children.

• HIV/ AIDs Programs for Adolescents

PCSJ had programs with Kerala State AIDS Control Society for creating awareness programs against HIV/AIDS. Under the Unicef funded project for HIV/AIDS prevention,PCSJ conducted awareness programs for adolescent children of the schools in 14 districts of Kerala. UNDP supported an “ HIV Project for the children & women of the Tsunami affected area of Kerala

• Projects in association with Unicef

Projects in association with Unicef Seminars on “Child Prostitution & Trafficking in Girl Child” , “Child Fest , Substance Abuse of Tobacco related and Issues ,NDPS ACT, Child Rights & Juvenile Justice Act, Personality Development & Adolescent Problems”. Child Development Training, Drug Abuse & Mental Health Programme for children Seminars on Mental Health & Rights of Destitute Children & Women Psychosocial support project for Tsunami affected children & women of Kerala, HIV/ AIDS awareness programs

• Projects in association with UNDP

PCSJ , supported by UNDP undertook a series programs against HIV/ AIDS in the Tsunami affected Arattupuzha &Andhakaranazhi of Alappuzha District & Elakunnapuzha & Edavanakkad of Ernakulam District.

• Research work on Child Abuse & related issues

PCSJ in association with Top Centre, India conducted a Survey on Child Abuse of 10,000 School children of Cochin City, a Survey on Children at Risk in association with Social Welfare Department, Govt. of Kerala and City Level Forum of the Corporation of Cochin, Survey on Tsunami affected children under UNICEF project in association with Kerala Social Welfare Department (15,577 children of Tsunami affected Districts, Kollam, Alappuzha & Ernakulam of Kerala were contacted personally to assess the psycho-social problems of children due to Tsunami), Survey on the Vulnerable Groups including HIV infected in the Tsunami affected districts of Ernakulam and Alappuzha under UNDP project.

• Constitution of POCSO clubs in Schools

In order to effectively implement the POCSO Act (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012), PCSJ planned to introduce a project to start ‘POCSO CLUBS’ in all schools in our State. As per the Project, each School will have a POCSO CLUB with the Principal/Head Master/Head Mistress as its Ex- Officio Chairperson and will also consist of a male teacher, female teacher, Senior head Boy, Senior Head Girl, a male PTA member and a female PTA member. The Club is to hold programmes to spread awareness in children especially the adolescents regarding child abuse and sexual harassment and guide them as to how to handle such situations. This can be done with the help of awareness classes, counselling as well as by conducting quiz programmes on the Enactment. The club can also function as a first aid centre by addressing incidents if reported in the campus so as to help the victim and its family from physical and psychological trauma.

• Collaboration with Social Welfare Department

(SWD) Govt. of Kerala, PCSJ in association with Govt. of Kerala has organized series of Programs for Children such as Child Fest for the Orphan and Destitute Children including Street Children, Counselling for children, School Counselling, Adolescent Counseling, Mental Health Clubs for children, Summer camps for Children of the Tsunami affected area supported by UNICEF, Research work on Child Abuse by conducting survey on 10,000 school children of Cochin, Survey on Children at Risk, Psycho-social survey on 12,000 children of Tsunami affected area, as a joint venture of PCSJ, UNICEF and Social Welfare Department of Kerala, Project for “Creating a Protective Environment for Children of Kerala affected by Tsunami” supported by UNICEF, Seminars on “Situation of the Girl Child” supported by UNICEF, Seminars on “Child Prostitution and Trafficking” in all districts of Kerala supported by UNICEF.etc.

POCSO Clubs in Schools of Kerala on 7th February 2015 at Al-Ameen Public School, Edappally

Child Sexual Abuse has become rampant in Kerala and the responsibility of protecting the younger generation from the clutches of the culprits has become the bounden duty of every adult PCSJ is committed to the holistic development of the society and strongly believes that one of the prime duties of the State is to aim at the paramount welfare of women and children in the society by safeguarding their rights.” In order to effectively implement the POCSO Act (The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012), PCSJ planned to introduce a project to start ‘POCSO CLUBS’ in all schools in our State. As per the Project, each School will have a POCSO CLUB with the Principal/Head Master/Head Mistress as its Ex- Officio Chairperson and will also consist of a male teacher, female teacher, Senior head Boy, Senior Head Girl, a male PTA member and a female PTA member. The Club is to hold programmes to spread awareness in children especially the adolescents regarding child abuse and sexual harassment and guide them as to how to handle such situations. This can be done with the help of awareness classes, counselling as well as by conducting quiz programmes on the Enactment. The club can also function as a first aid centre by addressing incidents if reported in the campus so as to help the victim and its family from physical and psychological trauma.

As a pilot project, PCSJ wanted to launch the POCSO Clubs in the CBSE schools of Ernakulam District. In association with the All Kerala CBSE schools Management, supported by Federal bank & Al-Ameen Educational Trust, PCSJ organised the State level inauguration of the POCSO club on 7th February at 2.30 p.m. at Al-Ameen Public School, Edappally, Ernakulam which will be inaugurated by Hon’ble Sri.Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan, Judge, High Court of Kerala.

On Child Rights in collaboration with Social Welfare Department

Govt. of Kerala, Child Fest for the Orphan and Destitute Children including Street Children, Counselling for children, School Counselling, Adolescent Counseling, Mental Health Clubs for children, summer camps for Children of the Tsunami affected area supported by UNICEF, Research work on Child Abuse by conducting survey on 10,000 school children of Cochin, Survey on Children at Risk, Psycho-social survey on 12,000 children of Tsunami affected area, as a joint venture of PCSJ, UNICEF and Social Welfare Department of Kerala, Project for “Creating a Protective Environment for Children of Kerala affected by Tsunami” supported by UNICEF, Seminars on “Situation of the Girl Child” supported by UNICEF, Seminars on “Child Prostitution and Trafficking” in all districts of Kerala supported by UNICEF.

Activities for Women

People’s Council for Social Justice(PCSJ), an NGO of National repute addresses gender based violence and gender inequality in the state of Kerala aiming to reduce the violence against women and discrimination to ‘zero tolerance’ by protecting and promoting the human rights of women. Since its inception PCSJ has been striving for ensuring gender justice with a multidisciplinary approach

  • Women- centered Programs,
  • Livelihood training programs
  • Awareness Camps on Women related laws
  • Family Counselling Centre

In 1997 Central Social Welfare Board sanctioned a Family Counselling Centre (FCC) for PCSJ where counselling and family dispute resolution are done daily. Two qualified Family Counsellors are rendering services in FCC. So far our FCC has conducted 6678 counselling sessions and dealt with 1050 family disputes and resolved 494 cases.

Introduction

Counselling is a type of “talking therapy” that allows a person to talk about his / her problems and feelings in a confidential and dependable environment. Counsellors are trained to listen with empathy (by putting themselves in your shoes). They can help you deal with any negative thoughts and feelings that you have. Counselling aims to help you deal with and overcome issues that are causing pain or making you feel uncomfortable. It can provide a safe and regular space for you to talk and explore difficult feelings. The counsellor is there to support you and respect your views. They will not usually give advice, but will help you to find your own insight and understanding of your problems and help to adopt corrective measures.

School counselling

During this period School Counselling continued in St. Antony’s Higher Secondary School, Kacherippady. Counselling is given to students on voluntary basis and also from the referral of teachers. The problems of students are mainly scholastic backwardness, adolescent issues, family problems and alcoholism of father etc. Through counselling they have improvement in studies. Students were counselled to create awareness to deal with love affair issues and to develop their life skills especially assertive skill and skill in decision making.

Counselling in Family Court

Counsellor Smt. Jessy and Smt. Sheela go for counselling at Family Court, Ernakulam, on every Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. Cases are directed by the court for counselling in a separate room provided to additional counsellors.

Individual and joint counselling sessions were done with the couple, children and family members as per the nature of the case. There are cases seeking divorce by single petition / joint petition, restitution of conjugal rights, maintenance, custody of children, return of money, gold etc. In all cases reunion possibilities are sought through counselling and if not possible direct them for a joint petition in the needed ones. There is a tendency among the love marriage in youngsters, in the early stages itself the conflicting couple especially women seek for divorce.

In all cases depending upon the nature of the case counselling sessions are done and a report in the prescribed format is given to the court after the sufficient number of counselling sessions. Follow-up sessions are also done.

Awareness Programmes

Counsellor Smt. Jessy took class on ‘Adolescent Issues’ to the ITI students of Don Bosco Institute at Vaduthala on 13-08-2014. This programme was in connection with the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of the Institute. 50 boys participated in the class. Students are being referred to FCC for counselling by the teachers of the institute. Substance abuse, love affair, absenteeism and lack of interest in studies were the problems of the students.

Counsellor Sheela took a session on “Practical Issues in Counselling & Qualities of a Good Counsellor” for the training programme to Superintendent of Mahila Mandir on 12-02-2015 organized by IMG, Kakkanad. 15 persons participated in the programme.

Outcome of cases in which counsellors rendered services

During this year, (2014-2015) FCC has dealt with 196 cases. Reunion/Reconciliation occurred in 24 cases out of the 91 marital dispute cases and the parties are living happily. Adolescent counseling was rendered in 66 cases. Personal counselling rendered in 5 cases. Cases were also referred for legal aid/advice, Short Stay Home, Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Gynecologist, Deaddiction centre, Child Care Centre, Child Welfare Committee, Legal Counsellor, Women’s Police Cell, Janamythri Police Station, Kerala State Legal Services Authority (KELSA), solving their family problems. There were also cases of property, maintenance, return of dowry, among the settled ones.

Sub-Committee meetings

Sub-committee meetings of FCC are conducted once in four months. This year 3 sub committee meetings were conducted. A sub committee consisting of social activists, social workers, representatives of local administration, social work institutions, Social Welfare Department, Medical experts, Legal professionals, Police etc. meet quarterly to assess and guide the functioning of the centre for achieving its objectives.

School Counselling

During this period School Counselling continued in St. Antony’s Higher Secondary School, Kacherippady. Counselling is given to students on voluntary basis and also from the referral of teachers. The problems of students are mainly scholastic backwardness, adolescent issues, family problems and alcoholism of father etc. Through counselling they have improvement in studies. Students were counselled to create awareness to deal with love affair issues and to develop their life skills especially assertive skill and skill in decision making.

  • Service Providing Centre under PWDV Act 2005
  • Psycho-social support for tsunami affected women
  • Research work on women related issues
  • Seminars on rights of women & related issues
  • Workshops on women’s rights & related issues
  • Round table conferences on Rape & violence on women
  • HIV/ AIDs Programs for Women
  • Unicef programs
  • UNDP programs
  • Observation of International Womens day & programs

Activities for destitute Palluruthy Relief Settlement (PRS)

People’s Council for Social Justice, in partnership with Corporation of Cochin has initiated a project for the Protection & Promotion of the Human Rights of the inmates of PRS – a Destitute Home under a Project “Agenda for Caring – a collaborative efforts of People’s Council for Social Justice & Corporation of Cochin” with the support of CAPART, DFID, Action Aid India, GSK /BCF& Help age India.

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