Bhubaneswar: With an aim to curb gender based violence, the Odisha government today issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for coordinated response in violence like rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and 'dowry related violence etc. committed against women and girls.
The SOP issued by the Health department defines the scope of the health infrastructure in initiating legal action against the perpetrators, offenders or wrongdoers and providing long term support and linkages for recovery and rehabilitation.
The SOP also contains information on the role of other stakeholders like the Police, District Legal Service Authority, DCPU and CWC etc. with whom the health care providers have to work in coordination.
The SOP is based on the provisions and suggestions outlined under various legislations, notable among which are the IPC, CrPC, Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO), and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
Apart from guidelines on medical examination and treatment, the SOP outlines the mechanism for evidence collection under which a Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Kit (SAFE Kit) shall be procured locally from the Rogi Kaiyan Samiti (RKS) Fund/National Health Mission (NHM) Flexipool/Contingency Fund and made available at Government health facilities for collecting and preserving physical evidence following sexual violence whereas private health care facilities will procure kit at their own cost.
As per the SOP, the police on receipt of the complaint of GBV should promptly register a First Information Report (FIR). The survivor/victim can lodge the FIR in any police station in the country. On receipt of the FIR, it can be transferred to the concerned police station for investigation. The Police Station/Special Juvenile Police Unit in the police station have been advised to promptly deal with and assist the survivor/victim of sexual and gender based violence.
Under the SOP, a woman or a child survivor/victim is entitled to be provided with free legal aid under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. The District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) shall provide assistance to the survivor/ victim of GBV in terms of provision of lawyer, compensation etc.
The SOP under its long term support and linkages for recovery and rehabilitation of the victim requires the health care facilities and professionals to intimate the victim about the provision of compensation under 'The Odisha Victim Compensation Scheme, 2012' and its amendment. Moreover, they have been advised to provide long term treatment for recovery, if required to the survivor/victim.
The protection officers under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are also required to ensure that the order of monetary relief is complied with and executed in accordance with the procedure prescribed under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Moreover, the CWCs have been asked to direct the DCPU, Shelter Home and Child Care Institution to provide necessary support to the survivor/victim and her family, like filing for compensation, counseling services etc.
The police have to complete the investigation within the scheduled time frame and provide updated information to the survivor/victim and her family about the progress of the case.