Women’s groups in India urge centre to address grievances of rape victims

The National Commission for Women (NCW) along with its Delhi wing urged the central government to address the grievances of rape victims with sensitivity.

Several advocates, NGO workers and the members of the NCW and the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) held a seminar to discuss the guidelines approved by the Delhi High Court a few months back to tackle sexual offences with more sensitivity.

Girija Vyas, chairperson of NCW, pointed out that there is lack of sensitivity in the country towards sexually assaulted women and children.

“The civil society needs to take care of rape and molestation victims. I feel that the government should be more sensitive. We have seen cases in Mumbai, Madhya Pradesh and the most recent case in Patna that just shows how careless and insensitive people and the police are towards the victims. There is a need for awareness and change in the mindset of the people,” Vyas said.

DCW chairperson Barkha Singh said: “There is a need for the authorities to tackle sexual offences with sensitivity and care. Of late, there has been an increase in the number of rape and molestation cases and we need to make sure that the victims are provided with proper counselling and also police should also be sensitised on how to handle such cases.”

Hoping that the scheme would be implemented soon, Singh added: “We have spoken to Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit and she assured us that the government will look into the matter soon.”

Several guidelines submitted by the DCW to the Delhi High Court suggest that the Delhi Police introduce a Crisis Intervention Centre.

It also recommends presence of policewomen in police stations round the clock and formation of a Sexual Assault Forsenic Evidence (SAFE) kit consisting of a set of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence following a sexual assault.

The apex court in 1995 felt that it was necessary to set up a Criminal Injustice Compensation Board.

The women’s groups also sought the suggestions of advocates and police officers so as to improve the guidelines for relief and rehabilitation of victims of rape.

Ravi Kanth, advocate of Supreme Court, said: “There is no mention of the victims of gang rape in the scheme. The scheme says that the compensation to the victim will be provided within three weeks, which is too late. This needs to be reviewed.”



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