One Stop Centres: A helping hand for rape survivors

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First One stop centre opened in Delhi on Thursday.
Delhi's first 'One Stop Centres' (OSC) for victims of sexual assault was inaugurated at the Sanjay Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Mangolpuri by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Thursday.

The OSC will provide provide medical facilities, psychological support, easier way to file police complaints and even legal assistance under one roof.

"This place will provide all facilities so that the victim does not have to wander from the OPD to the emergency to any other ward. They will be treated with sensitivity keeping their state of trauma in mind," Jung said.

What is OSCC?

One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) or one stop centre (OSC) is a specialized facility for providing all necessary services for women victims or survivors of violence.

These centres will be attached to the district hospitals of the State Governments.

Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi had also said that her Ministry would set up the special centres in every district of the country, so that rape victims do not need to run here and there to seek justice.

In addition, Gandhi said, a special helpline will also be started to tackle the cases related to crime against women and children.

A one-stop centre will counsel the victims' alongwith giving them legal help in case if needed.

Why OSCC is needed?

According to the National Crime Records Bureau of India, 24,923 rape cases were reported across India in 2012. It is worth noting that more than half such incidents are not reported because of the humiliation and harassment women have to face in the process of registering their report.

The already traumatised victims also have to suffer when they visit a police station to file a criminal complaint against the rapists. They are asked embarrassing questions and at times even an FIR is not registered as police suspects victims are lying.

Not only these, social stigma is yet another reason for such incidents not being reported. Society also plays a negative role and treats victims like offenders. At times even proper legal representation - which they have a right to - is lacking. Thus, a special cell, a One Stop Crisis Centre is needed so that proper care and counselling may be given to the needy.

Who gave the idea of OSCC ?

The establishment of OSCs was recommended by the Usha Mehra commission report which was constituted after the brutal Dec 16 gang rape in 2012.

The Usha Mehra Commission (headed by the retired Delhi High Court Judge Usha Mehra) constituted by the Union Government on December 26, 2012, inquired into different aspects of the brutal December 16 gangrape. On February 22, 2013, the committee submitted its report and said that there should be a one stop centre, like those already operating in Bangladesh, Malaysia and South Africa, where victims of sexual assault should be taken.

Madhya Pradesh's capital Bhopal also has an OSCC named ‘Gauravi' set up in Jai Prakash Hospital with the support of the NGO ActionAid. The centre is helping victims of rape, dowry harassment and domestic violence to get medical aid and is also aiding them to file FIRs, provide legal advice and psychological counselling.

Responsibilities of OSCC

• Provide medical as well as legal help to the victims.

• Provide emotional and counseling support.

• Help in registration of FIR and police complaints.

• Provide a lawyer for counselling and legal assistance of the victim.

• Support the survivor in rehabilitation.

• The women and child development department will also offer the option of secure shelter to victims at the OSC.

OSSC/OSC a ray of hope

The rape victims have to face a lot because of the social stigma and other factors which make them face a lot of problems. With these centres, all such cases will get solved faster and help in delivering more justice to the victims as because of the present system, justice to rape victims is not only delayed but at times also denied.

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