Steps taken by government after Dec 16 gang rape (To go with: Our wounds are still fresh, say victim’s parents)

The Dec 16 gang rape of a young physiotherapy student last year sparked nationwide outrage, forcing the government to take steps to make women in the country feel safe.

- A new anti-rape law was brought in which recognised the structural and graded nature of sexual crimes against women and redefined rape to include all forms of non- consensual, penetrative sexual acts that violated a woman’s bodily integrity. The earlier law restricted definition of rape to peno-vaginal penetration.

- The government constituted the Justice J.S. Verma committee to look into possible amendments to the criminal law for quicker trial and enhanced punishment to those accused of committing sexual assault. Many of the committee’s recommendations were adopted in subsequent changes made to laws.

- The Justice Usha Mehra Commission was set up to probe the lapses on part of the authorities. The committee criticised the authorities and called for a slew of reforms to improve the law and order situation in the capital. Some of them have been taken up.

- The government took steps like improvements in the public transport system by increasing the number of buses at night and installing Global Positioning System (GPS) on all public transport vehicles.

- Provisions were made in the law, making it mandatory for hospitals to give treatment to victims of sexual assault and other offences without waiting for the arrival of police.

- Directions were issued for setting up of one stop centre for rape complainant in at least one hospital in each district of the national capital territory region.

- A three-number helpline with phone number 181 was set up for women in distress.

- The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, which provides stringent punishment for persons who have committed crimes against children was brought in.

IANS