Relief and rehabilitation package for rape victims: minister

June 19th, 2008 - 10:25 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) The government wants to sensitise people on the trauma faced by a rape victim and is working on introducing a relief and rehabilitation package for such women, said Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury Thursday. “We are coming out with a comprehensive plan that will have far-reaching impact on society. It will also act as a deterrent to violence against women. We will expedite it without any anomalies,” Chowdhury told reporters Thursday.

She was speaking at a national consultation on schemes for the relief and rehabilitation for victims of rape. The meet was attended by lawyers, police officers, NGOs, women activists and social scientists.

The minister said they would sensitise people on the trauma faced by a victim and were examining whether the accused could be penalised.

Clarifying that the relief package should not be termed as compensation, the minister said the money was to help the victim get “some breathing relief”.

“We don’t want women to be commodified. This is a facilitation process so that the victim need not approach a man for help. The money will help pay their legal fees, medical facilities etc,” she added.

The guidelines on relief and rehabilitation was prepared by the National Commission for Women (NCW) and presented to the ministry for implementation.

As per the guidelines, a rape victim will get Rs.200,000 as a “relief and rehabilitation package”.

There are an estimated 15,000 rape cases on an average in a year in the country.

The NCW came out with the scheme following directions of the Supreme Court, which ordered it to evolve a “scheme so as to wipe out the tears of unfortunate victims of rape”.

As per the recommendation, a rape victim will get an initial amount of Rs.20,000 on the basis of the medical report. This will be followed by Rs.70,000 for treatment and rehabilitation. The remaining amount would be given when the victim gives her statement in court.

Keeping in mind that many rape victims in rural areas are thrown out of their homes, the money could be used to provide them shelter or a home and impart them skill-training.

In their report, a final draft of which was prepared after consultations with lawyers, the NCW said that any victim who comes to the police station and lodges a First Information Report is to get monetary relief.

To simplify the procedure, the commission suggested that a criminal injuries compensation board be set up.

The board will monitor whether the scheme is being implemented by the state governments and also ensure that the instalment money is awarded within three weeks of the FIR filed.

The commission has suggested district level committees headed by a district magistrate to rule out any false claims.

Every district shall have a monitoring committee which shall be headed by the superintendent of police of the district. The committee will comprise of a police officer preferably a woman, a social activist, a lawyer and a doctor apart from a representative of the Panchayati Raj institution or municipality.

The committee members have to be nominated by the district magistrate.

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