Centre to set up national mission for women’s safety

 Amid increasing concerns over women’s safety across the country, the government is considering creation of a National Mission for the safety of women, with participation from stakeholder ministries and departments, who would undertake specified actions in a time-bound manner, officials of the Home Ministry say.

‘’Issues like sensitisation of children through appropriate changes in school curriculum, a media campaign for raising awareness, checking proliferation of pornographic materials and online contents will also be addressed through this mission,’’ the officials add.

The National Mission for Safety of Women would result in evolving a credible response to the emerging situation with regards to crimes against women, especially minor girls.

It would also ensure focus on time bound implementation of measures with tangible impact on women safety besides improved coordination by stakeholder Departments like Justice, MHA, Ministry of Women and Child Development.

The Mission would also coordinate with the departments like School Education for appropriate changes in curriculum, Health, Women and Child Development, Legal Affairs; media campaign for rising awareness, improved monitoring at Mission level in time bound prosecution and investigation in cases of rape and other matters related to women safety.

The Union Cabinet on April 21, 2018 had approved MHA’s proposal for promulgation of Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2018 and a number of other measures for effective implementation of the amended provisions of criminal laws aimed at enhancing women safety.

In order to effectively implement amendments made in criminal law, the Cabinet has also approved measures like setting up of Fast Track Special Courts to exclusively decide rape cases and to strengthen such courts where they already exist.

Such a scheme will cover strengthening of the physical infrastructure and manpower for Fast Track Special Courts in consultation with the High Courts and State Governments concerned. These special Courts will be funded by the Centre.

On similar lines, the prosecution machinery in States and Union Territories (UTs) will be strengthened and a dedicated capacity will be created for effective and timely prosecution of the cases for the Fast Track Special Courts, by sanction of additional posts for public prosecutors, office infrastructure and supporting manpower.

The rate of conviction in cases of rape depends crucially on the quality of evidence collected by the investigating agencies. Adequate provision of special forensic kits for rape cases should be made in all police stations as well as hospitals where such medico-legal cases are handled to improve the quality of forensic evidence and thereby strengthen the case of the prosecution. Dedicated and trained manpower will be provided for investigation of sexual offences in a time bound manner.

One or more specialised Forensic Laboratories, adequately staffed and equipped, will be set in each State and UTs to exclusively deal with the forensic needs of the rape cases, in an efficient and time bound manner.

For tracking of the accused persons or offenders and sharing of information with the concerned agencies, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will maintain database and profile of sexual offenders at the national level and share it with the States and UTs on regular basis.

NCRB data will be used by the police for verification of antecedents for prospective employers and would from part of the CCTNS. The preparatory work for creating this database urgently has commenced.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has already created a new Division on May 25, headed by Ms Punya Salila Srivastava, a 1993 batch IAS, to deal with the issues like crimes against women, crimes against children, elderly persons, anti-trafficking, matters relating to prison legislation and prison reforms, all schemes under NIRBHAYA fund Crime and Criminal Tracking & Network System (CCTNS) and National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

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