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Children continue to struggle due to weak implementation of the laws protecting them, judicial experts and civil society members said here Saturday.

“Children should be seen as victims and not as criminals. Parents and poverty are responsible for children getting into activities like begging and various other crimes,” said Justice A.K. Sikri, a Delhi High Court judge, at a seminar on access to justice in perspective of children.

“Our system needs to be lenient on children who are victims of circumstances and help heal them. The implementation has to be stronger,” added Sikri.While members from judiciary emphasised the need to ease the juvenile laws in the country, child rights activists said the “healing” is a multilayered process.

“Children who come to rehabilitation centres are victims of poverty. They cannot be immediately pushed into education or schooling, there has to be mental counselling first,” said Rajesh Kumar, member of Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM).

“Before talking about laws and provisions, we should also make the judiciary and policing reachable to them. We should discover a way to become the voice of the voiceless children to reach the masses,” said Minna Kabir, a child rights activist.

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