Disha centres for women in AP to function from Feb. 1st

Newly-appointed special officer for the implementation of Andhra Pradesh Disha Act Kritika Shukla conducted a video conference with project directors, officials from Women Development and Child Welfare (WDCW) and superintendents of medical colleges from all the districts.
According to the government’s decision, 13 exclusive special courts (one in each district) and 13 special public prosecutors would be appointed for the trial of cases filed on offences committed against women and children.  “The project directors should approach Superintendents of Police and district judges for allotment of sub-inspectors and a separate room to set up special courts,” she said.
All the existing women police stations will be upgraded as Disha Police Stations, existing laboratories of the Andhra Pradesh Forensic Laboratories (APFSL),  RFSL centres in Managalgiri, Visakhapatnam and Tirupati will also be upgraded and a few more new labs will be set up.  
Along with the current helpline numbers Dial 100 and Dial 112, 181 and 1098 will also be used for Disha services. It has also been directed to have separate command control rooms, call centres and an exclusive mobile application. 
Disha Centres will be established in all teaching and district hospitals to ensure speedy medical examination of victims. “A list of all dos and don’ts have been explained to each district’s officials. They have to follow a Standard Operating Procedure, which will be issued by the Director-General of Police soon,” said Shukla. 
Meanwhile, officials have been directed to set up temporary Disha Centres within a week in the existing permanent buildings with a medical examination room, a room to file zero FIR and one room with four to five beds for short stay of victims. 
Permanent centres will be established by January 31st, 2020. These centres will work as 24/7 one-stop centres where all the procedures such as filing FIR, medical examination, counselling for victims will be done,” said Shukla, adding that all services will be made available from February 1. 
“A sum of Rs 87 crore has been sanctioned for establishing the centres and hiring necessary officials and experts,” Shukla said. Each centre will have a team of doctors including gynaecologist (who will lead the medical team), forensic expert and resident medical officer (RMO) to attend to victims of rape and sexual assault. 
“The medical examination and evidence collection will be done only at these centres and relevant medical reports will be furnished within six hours,” she said.  
January will be considered as Disha Month and month-long awareness programmes will be held. Speaking on the rape and murder case of pharmacy student Ayesha Meera, Shukla said, “I have met the victim’s parents. We will appeal to the CBI to consider the case under the Disha Act.”

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