Wednesday, 26 January, 2022
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To help women facing violence abroad, govt will set up aid centres at missions in 9 countries

Govt is setting up 10 one-stop centres to facilitate access to a range of services — police, medical, legal, psychological support & temporary shelter — to women affected by violence.

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New Delhi: The Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry, in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), has decided to set up One-Stop Centres (OSC) at 10 Indian missions to help Indian women suffering violence abroad.

The OSC scheme was one of the initiatives launched in the wake of the 2012 Nirbhaya gang rape-murder to address crime against women. Introduced in 2013, OSCs are meant to facilitate access to an integrated range of services — police, medical, legal, psychological support and temporary shelter — to women affected by violence. So far, the centres have only been set up in India. 

“In collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), we will set up OSCs in 10 missions in nine countries. This will include two in Saudi Arabia and one each in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Australia, Canada, and Singapore,” WCD Ministry Secretary Ram Mohan Mishra told ThePrint.

The initiative is a bid to ensure that women subjected to violence abroad can seek assistance from their own missions. The MEA and the WCD Ministry, Mishra said, will together decide how to expand the initiative to other countries.

According to a reply given by the WCD Ministry in the Lok Sabha this March, the government has approved 733 OSCs across the country, out of which 700 are operational. 

WCD Ministry officials said the OSCs in foreign missions will provide immediate emergency and non-emergency support — including legal aid, medical support and counselling — to those who approach them.


Also read: On International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women, a look at India’s rape crisis


Scheme to ease court attendance of rape victims 

WCD Ministry officials who didn’t wish to be named said the government is also launching a new scheme to aid court attendance for rape victims in India. The women, the officials said, will be given shelter, food and transport to attend court hearings. This is a bid to ensure that women who may not have the resources to attend the hearings in their cases are able to do so, and the trials can be taken to their logical conclusion. 

The scheme will also offer legal aid to women abandoned by families due to rape or pregnancies stemming from sexual assault. A sum of Rs 74 crore has been allotted for the scheme and will be given to district authorities. 

“This is the fund to be allocated to district magistrates and they will revise the mechanism for their own district,” a senior ministry official said.

(Edited by Sunanda Ranjan)


Also read: Art, life and Bollywood’s role in violence against women


 

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