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News : Kerala Plans to Ensure 24-hr Helpline with Proper OSCC for Nirbhaya Survivors
Thiruvananthapuram, India, June 13, 2016 -- Four years passed after the Kerala government introduced the Nirbhaya State Policy to combat sexual violence and sex trafficking of women and children, yet the survivors are still forced to run from pillar to post for justice. As envisaged in the policy, One-stop crisis management cells (OSCC) were set up, yet it fails to serve its purpose.
Now, the new state government is holding a high-level meeting led by chief secretary SM Vijayanand with Nirbhaya honorary director Sunitha Krishnan, officials and all stakeholders for effective implementation of Nirbhaya policy and plan to set up four more OSCC's in the state. It is planned to ensure a single centralised 24-hour helpline with a proper OSCC at the state capital in a month.
The OSCC's are expected to ensure a single window clearance with all support for the survivors at one place. Though 21 OSCC's exist across the state including 14 at district hospitals and seven at taluk hospitals, its functioning had drawn flak. It is short-staffed with helpline from 7 am to 7 pm. Each of these centres are expected to provide the services of a counsellor, a gynaecologist, a general physician, legal expert and women protection officer to help the victim.
"The OSCCs are namesake and the survivors of sexual abuse are forced to run from police station to hospital, court and back to get the medical test report to file the case. This is despite the fact that the government had allotted Rs 86.5 lakh for running each of these centres," Social Justice Department (SJD) official told TOI.
"Even after a decade, the treatment of an abuse victim or a survivor has not changed on ground, despite the Nirbhaya policy and the legalities," said Adv.J Sandhya, member of the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights. Now, hope that will be implemented through proper coordination with various departments including Social Justice, Health and Police, she said.
SJD secretary A Shahjahan told TOI that discussions are on to ensure the effective implementation of Nirbhaya policy in the state with full-fledged functioning of all OSCCs in the state. "Now, it is planned to set up four full-fledged OSCCs in the state with a 24-hour single centralised helpline. The first one in Thiruvananthapuram will be restored with a 24-hour helpline in a month," he said. Following that, he said that one OSCC will be set up in each district of the state with the support of the Police, medical, legal counselling and Kudumbashree women's group within a year.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Tuesday, June 14, 2016