Maha govt sets guidelines for treating sexual assault victims

Mumbai: Close on the heels of recent cases of sexual harassment, molestation and rape at Covid Health Centres in various parts of Maharashtra, the state government has issued a set of guidelines to avoid such cases and also to provide immediate relief to the victims. The Public Health Department under-secretary RD Kadam Patil has issued the notification.

According to these guidelines, if harassment, molestation or rape is reported at the Covid Care Centre (CCC) or at the Dedicated Covid Healthcare Centre (DCHC) or at Dedicated Covid Hospital (DCH), it will be mandatory for the medical team stations at these sites to immediately provide treatment to the victim. It will be their responsibility to mobilize trained manpower including lady doctor and nurses from the nearby government and semi-government hospitals.

Special wards should be immediately made available for the treatment of the victim at these centres. The medical team by wearing the personal protective equipment kit and following all Covid-19 norms should check the victim. The victim’s treatment report will be submitted to the police in a given format by the Centre.

Further, the centre will have to simultaneously collect and send the vagina swab, blood and other samples to the forensic laboratory for further investigation.

It will be the centre’s responsibility to provide necessary help including legal assistance, counselling and police help to the victim. The centre will have to submit the report to the Health Services Commissionerate for further action.

The state government’s move is important as it was attacked by the opposition and NGOs for such cases and the neglect to the victims at these centres.

Recently, a 27-year-old security guard has been arrested by Navghar police on Saturday for allegedly raping a 20-year-old woman at a Covid care centre in Mira Road.

Earlier, a 40-year-old woman at the CCC of the Panvel City Municipal Corporation located at Kon village in Panvel taluka was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 25-year-old youth, who was also quarantined at the centre.

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