Women volunteers should aid cops: Centre to states

Women volunteers should aid cops: Centre to states

Move will help victims get effective help and support

Women volunteers should aid cops: Centre to states
Engage educated women as “Special Mahila Police Volunteers” in villages to facilitate police outreach in gender crimes like domestic violence, child marriage and sexual harassment, the Centre has told states.

The rationale behind the scheme is to provide victims an effective alternative to getting help and support as it is common knowledge that women who face violence or harassment do not find it easy to approach police.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has now written to all states to implement the scheme proposed by Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) as soon as possible in at least one or two districts with high incidence of crime against women as well as low child sex ratio.

The broad mandate of these volunteers is to report incidences of violence against women such as domestic violence, child marriage, dowry harassment and violence faced by women in public spaces. “She will act as a role model for the community,” the Ministry of WCD said.

Mahila Police have to inform police about any “unpleasant behaviour or untoward incidents” against women. She will also have to act as an “additional intelligence collection unit” for spotting suspicious arrivals in villages, information on missing women or children and deviant behaviour among students.

Any woman who is above 21 years of age and Class XII pass may apply for this honorary post and a panel headed by Superintendent of Police would decide on the appointments.

According to the MHA, these volunteers must be “empowered, responsible, socially aware women for fostering leadership in local settings to facilitate police outreach on gender concerns”.

A volunteer could be “any woman who is socially committed towards empowerment of women and girls, willing to raise her voice against gender based violence and support the police in creating a gender just society free from violence”, the WCD Ministry said.

States have been asked to encourage members of civil society and action groups working at grassroots for combating violence against women to apply as volunteers.

There will be provision for monthly allowance, training, reward and recognition of volunteers. A lump-sum amount of Rs 500 a month will also be paid to cover “out of pocket expenses” related to mobile phone and local transportation.
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