The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India has approved 13 new One-Stop Centres (OSC) for Women for J&K.
According to Secretary Social Welfare, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone, the news OSCs shall be established in Samba, Udhampur, Poonch, Reasi, Ramban, Kishtwar, Pulwama, Budgam, Ganderbal, Baramulla, Shopian, Kulgam and Kargil. He said with the establishment of 13 new OSCs, the total number of such Centres in the State will go up to 22, covering all the districts.
Dr Lone said these Centres will be fully funded by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India and Rs 5.65 crore have been earmarked by the Ministry for the new OSCs.
He said the project proposal in this regard was formulated by the State Resource Center for Women, Department of Social Welfare, Government of J&K.
Secretary Social Welfare said OSCs are intended to support women affected by violence, in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. Women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse, irrespective of age, class, caste, education status, marital status, race, and culture will be facilitated with support and redressal.
Aggrieved women facing any kind of violence due to attempted sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, trafficking, honor-related crimes, acid attacks or witch-hunting who have reached out or been referred to the OSC will be provided with specialized services, he said and added that the OSCs shall facilitate immediate, emergency and non – emergency access to a range of services including medical, legal, psychological and counselling support under one roof against any forms of violence against women.
He said the services offered by OSCs include Emergency Response and Rescue Services to provide rescue and referral services to the women affected by violence. For this, he said, linkages will be developed with existing mechanisms such as National Health Mission (NHM) and law enforcing agencies so that the woman affected by violence can either be rescued from the location and referred to the nearest medical facility (Public/ Private) or shelter home.
OSCs, Dr Lone said, will women affected by violence would be referred by OSCs to the nearest Hospital for medical aid/examination which would be undertaken as per the guidelines and protocols developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
He said these Centres would assist women in lodging FIR /NCR/DIR.
The other facilities to be provided by OSCs include psychosocial support/ counselling. “A skilled counsellor providing psychosocial counselling services would be available on call. This counselling process will give women confidence and support to address violence or to seek justice for the violence perpetrated,” he said and added that the counsellors shall follow a prescribed code of ethics, guidelines, and protocols in providing counselling services.
He said to facilitate access to justice for women affected by violence, legal aid and counselling would be provided at OSC through empaneled Lawyers or National/ State/District Legal Service Authority. “The aggrieved woman would be provided with an advocate of her choice in case she wants to engage the same to assist the State Prosecutors in trying her case,” he said and added it would be the responsibility of the Lawyer /Prosecutor to simplify legal procedures for the aggrieved woman and advocate for her exemption from court hearings.
The OSC, he said will also provide temporary shelter facility to aggrieved women. For long-term shelter requirements, arrangements will be made with Short Stay Homes (managed/affiliated with government/NGO).
To facilitate speedy and hassle-free police and court proceedings, the OSC will provide video conferencing facility if the aggrieved woman wants, she can record her statement for police/ courts from OSC itself using audio-video electronic means.
Dr Lone said a woman can access the OSC through any person including any public-spirited citizen, public servant, relative, friend, NGO, volunteer etc, or through Women Helpline integrated with police, ambulance, and other emergency response helplines.