In present circumstances, we find that it is mostly the victim, rather than the culprit, who faces social stigma.
So many cases go unreported due to this particular reason. Our community and police need to be more sensitive. They need to support the victims rather than ostracise them. The mindset of people needs to change. Most of them believe that the woman was at fault. They should not cast aspersions on the character of the woman but should ensure she is able to fight her battle with dignity.
Our police, which deal with such cases, too need to be sensitised. What plans does the government have on this front?
The police need to follow all the protocols that have put in place. For instance, we need to ensure that a police officer investigating a rape case should not visit the victim’s house in uniform. They need to protect her identity and that of the family. They also need to be sensitive in dealing with such cases. We have chalked out a training programme for the police officials who are in charge of the women’s helpline.
Providing counselling to the victim is very important, but in many cases, this stops as soon as the trial begins. How do we ensure that this is a long-term process?
Counselling is crucial to ensure a complete recovery path for the victim. We always keep a close watch on whether the victim is getting support. Right from counsellors empanelled with the police, the hospitals and our government, we ensure that she is given emotional help. But what is required is that this process continues for a longer period.
Does the government provide any financial help to victims?
There is a comprehensive compensation scheme, which is in place to help the victim financially. A rape victim gets a compensation of Rs. 2-3 lakh within two months of the crime. In case of death, a maximum compensation of Rs. 5 lakh and a minimum of Rs. 3 lakh is also given to the family of the victim. A lump sum amount is also given when the trial starts.