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Rehabilitation package for rape victims sought

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt, IANS,

New Delhi : Rape victims will get Rs.200,000 as a “relief and rehabilitation package”, if Women and Child Development Minister Renuka Chowdhury has her way.

Chowdhury, who in principle has agreed to the proposal mooted by the National Commission of Women (NCW), has called a meeting of the panel Tuesday.

NCW came out with the ‘Scheme for Relief and Rehabilitation of Victims of Rape, 2005’ following the 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 a sum of Rs.70,000 for treatment and rehabilitation. The remaining amount would be given when the victim gives her statement to the court.

“We would be giving the rest of the amount to the victim after seeing that she has not turned hostile. We will not wait till the judgement,” a ministry official told IANS.

“The meeting has been called to take a decision on the compensation package. Then, a final decision will be taken,” the official said.

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

“We are hopeful that the recommendations we have made would be accepted,” a commission member said.

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

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

To simplify the procedure and not to add to the already traumatised girl’s woes, 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. It will also ensure that the instalment money is awarded within three weeks of the FIR being filed.

Fearing that there could be false claims, the commission has suggested the formation of district level committees headed by a district magistrate.

The state government shall establish in every district, a separate 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. They all have to be nominated by the district magistrate to be a part of the committee.