Need for a Rape Crisis Centre!
Type ‘Rape Crisis Centre in’ on Google search and you will get options in the drop down for South Africa, London, Cape Town, Scotland, Ireland, Johannesburg etc. Wonder why India doesn’t feature here? Because we don’t have one! Despite the increase in the number of crimes against women, the Government hasn’t deemed it urgent or important to start one in the country. Though a few agencies were set up in some states to address issues, they got marred due to lack of funds. When Femina spoke to Kalpana Gadekar, a senior police official from Mumbai, she revealed that the city has three women’s cells, which were started recently to help victims of rape, molestation, dowry and domestic violence. Delhi police too has a Crisis Intervention Centre, setup since 2000, but hardly active due to the lack of funds and manpower. While the RCC’s in various countries provide assistance right from lodging a police complaint, hiring an advocate and taking legal measures, providing medical help, counselling for the victim and family – the ‘help centres’ in India are just restricted to basic counselling. As inspector Gadekar tell us, “Women’s cells are active in Mumbai in Santacruz, Kandivli and Crawford Market and we have two counselling centres in Byculla. We also have a woman inspector at every police station, as per the directive from the Supreme Court, to address complaints from women victims.” In the wake of this, she doesn’t feel the need to have a rape crisis centre as such. However, talking about counselling and legal assistance that these centres around the world provide, Gadekar acknowledged the lack of manpower and money to set up and run the same. “Counselling is needed for poor victims who don’t have the means or awareness to go to a counsellor on their own. So the two centres that we have are enough to address these needs,” she said adding that many NGOs also provide assistance which solves the purpose of having a dedicated centre. While Kalpana Gadekar seemed happy and content with whatever the women’s cells are doing, she did voice the need of a more organized, managed and monitored crisis centres at zonal and divisional levels. What ails Indian crisis centres? A few NGO workers who are associated with some of these centres reveal some shockers, underlining the need and importance of a better managed approach to these centres. – The activists at these help centres, provide a very basic help to the victim. Unlike the assistance provided in other countries, handholding a victim through the various phases and process doesn’t feature in India. – The meager amount of money provided to the counsellors by the government is spent on travelling to police stations during emergencies. – Counsellors do accompany the victim to hospitals but providing medical assistance is limited due to limited resources. – The counsellors are not very well qualified, again since they are not paid well. – There is no programme for rehabilitation of the victim. – The agencies and centres are not monitored for the need of financial support and hence fail to give the desired assistance. – There is a need to understand that rape or sexual assault victims may need basic professional psychiatric help to help them cope better. Our government has been promising increased allocation of funds for security of women, but facts like these pull down all hopes that we have. The Crises Intervention Centre set up in the capital in 2000 was seen as a benchmark step and a model to be followed by other states. But the premature death and Delhi government’s failure to sustain what they started for women, goes on to highlight the seriousness of those in power about the ever increasing crime rate. ——— SOURCE: www.femina.in