State to appoint protection officers, at last

47 officers to be posted to deal with domestic violence cases

Speaking at a seminar on ‘Review on Effective Implementation of Domestic Violence Act’ on Saturday, Ramesh Halbhavi, Deputy Director of DWCD, said the government had finally passed an order and the appointed officers would be posted in areas like Bangalore, Mangalore and Hubli-Dharwad where a number of domestic violence cases were reported.

Protection officers are appointed in each district to assist victims seeking help by making a domestic incident report (DIR), informing the magistrate and contacting the jurisdictional police station. It is also the duty of the protection officer to ensure that victims get legal aid, provide shelter for deserted women and also get a medical examination done if a woman has sustained injuries.

Earlier, DWCD had appointed Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) project directors to function as protection officers. As a result, these officers were unable to discharge their duties effectively as the number of cases referred was too high.

A public interest litigation had been filed in the High Court stating that the government had failed in its responsibility to implement the Act efficiently by not appointing protection officers and entrusting the role to child protection officers.

Following the High Court’s directions to appoint officers, the State had submitted that it would appoint officers to function as protection officers exclusively.

The State had also said it required about 150 people, but the Finance department had approved the appointment of only 47 people.

Joint Commissioner (Crime) Alok Kumar said the police were often at a loss while dealing with victims of domestic violence as the rules were not clear about their duties.

Making it clear that the police do not have any implementation powers in injunction orders of the Court, Kumar said the department would sensitise its junior staff to provide support and direct the victims to protection officers.

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