The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 21 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Special care hub for rape victims

Jharkhand does care for its women. The state has become the first in eastern India to boast a crisis management centre for victims of rape and sexual assault.

An initiative of the social welfare, women and child development department, the centre — a care unit for both women and children — has come up on the premises of Ranchi Institute of Neuro-Psychiatry & Allied Sciences (Rinpas) in adherence to a long-pending directive of the Union government. It will be inaugurated in the second week of June.

Amool Ranjan Singh, director of Rinpas, said the crisis centre had been set up adjacent to the OPD and would also cater to victims from neighbouring states. Rinpas, a premier mental healthcare institute, will offer psychological help to the victims, besides treating them for physical injuries received during such assaults.

“With the state’s support, the rape crisis centre will provide comprehensive, free treatment to sexual assault victims, including 24-hour emergency medical care, counselling and psychotherapy, advocacy and accompanying services. We have doctors and psychologists who are fit to treat such patients,” he added.

Victims will also get guidance on legal matters from Jharkhand State Legal Services Authority and also police protection.

“The centre is ready and was likely to be opened in the last week of this month. However, our principal secretary Mridula Sinha, who took the initiative to set up the centre, is abroad at present and hence, the inaugural ceremony has been pushed to the second week of June,” said a high-ranking official of social welfare, women and child development department.

On the initiative, the official said that in 2009, the home ministry had sent an advisory missive on how to deal with rape cases to all states and Union Territories. A set of measures, which included setting up of rape crisis centres and specialised sexual assault treatment units, accompanied the missive. But most states and none in eastern India took any initiative.

“Jharkhand revisited the order in the wake of increasing incidents of rape and assaults. Although the health department ought to have taken the initiative for setting up the centre, in keeping with the Union ministry’s instruction, in Jharkhand, the social welfare department was given the charge. It will be duly supported by the health department,” the official said.

He reasoned that the ambit of the welfare department was wider as it had the largest network of women frontline workers through its integrated child development services.

“Women and child development, both come under the purview of this department. The women’s commission and panchayat resource centre are also associated with it. So it was decided that the rape crisis centre will set up under the aegis of the social welfare department,” he added.

How else can rape victims be offered social support?