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Scheme for providing interim relief to rape survivors lost in obscurity

The women are provided financial assistance along with other support services that are essential for recovering from physical harm and emotional trauma.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 03, 2018 07:52 IST
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
rape survivors,district legal services authority,Crime against women
People hold placards as they participate in a protest against the rape of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua near Jammu, and a teenager in Unnao.(REUTERS Representative Photo)

Although the state government, in 2012, started a criminal injuries relief and rehabilitation board and constituted district and state boards to offer financial assistance and support to rape survivors under a scheme, activists say most people are unaware of the scheme, and, to date, none have claimed the interim relief compensation.

Continuing with life normally after a traumatic and harrowing incident, such as rape, remains the biggest challenge for a survivor but the services — provided by the state government and implemented by the district legal services authority (DSLA) — can help in the rehabilitation process significantly.

There are various ways in which DLSA also helps in rehabilitation of rape survivors — be it monetary help, legal aid or psychological assistance.

The women are provided financial assistance along with other support services that are essential for recovering from physical harm and emotional trauma.

Chief judicial magistrate and DSLA secretary Narender Singh said they have what is called a ‘victim compensation scheme (VCS)’. “Under the VCS, we try different ways to make it a easier for the victims who have gone through such a traumatic experience to lead a normal life,” he said.

For minors, the DLSA provides compensation in two stages — when a case is registered and the girl is in need of medical care and funds for the legal fight. In case the minor delivered a child, funds are provided for the child and the girl’s marriage in the future.

The entire rehabilitation scheme provided by the DSLA starts with the ‘One Stop Crisis Centre’ or the OCS. “The moment a case is registered, the investigating officer takes the victim to the OCS. There, experienced counsellors talk to her and help her overcome the initial trauma,” Singh said.

The DLSA ensures it provides basic financial help necessary for the rehabilitation of the woman.

“Monetary help is a prerequisite for survivors. While the minimum amount for an adult victim is fixed at Rs3.5 lakh, for a minor, the minimum prescribed amount is Rs 4.4 lakh,” Singh said, adding that there is no outer limit or tab on the maximum amount to be given to a survivor. “It could be Rs 10 lakh, Rs 20 lakh, Rs 30 lakh or even more. It is decided on a case-to-case basis by the secretary of DLSA,” Singh said.

For instance, if a survivor is 16 years old and is pregnant, “her education, marriage, psychological needs are all to be taken care of.”

“Further, in case her child is born, then medical cost of the survivor, the education and health costs of the child, among other expenses will also have to be taken care of. In that case, the amount would be greater,” Singh explained.

He said the DLSA takes a “pragmatic approach”, and is concerned with the “overall development and the well being of the survivor”. This year, the DLSA has already given compensation of Rs 3 lakh to survivors, and last year, Rs12 lakh was handed out to the survivors.

DLSA also reviews the progress of investigation on a periodic basis and recommends changes in investigating officers, if such a request is made by the affected women. It could also issue directions to appropriate authorities to provide counselling, protection, shelter, vocational training, etc., to affected women, wherever deemed necessary.

First Published: Jun 03, 2018 07:51 IST