One Stop Centres, set up across the country in the wake of the December 2012 Delhi gangrape, have failed to serve survivors of gender-based violence effectively, states a report released by Human Right Watch. The One Stop Centres under the Nirbhaya fund were meant to provide integrated services including police assistance, legal aid, medical care and counselling in one place for surivors of sexual violence. These centres were also meant to serve the purpose of collecting of forensic evidence.
The report ‘Everyone Blames Me: Barriers to Justice and Support Services for Sexual Assault Survivors in India’, points out that the scheme fails in its intent as the centres were “set up hastily” without meaningful consultations with local rights groups and NGOs already running crisis-intervention centres before the Centre launched its scheme.
As on August 2017, a total of 151 centres had been set up across the country through the scheme. According to the report, the centres couldn’t maximise their reach to victims of gender-based violence due to lack of coordination between government departments, inadequate resources such as counsellors, and failure to link these centres with helplines. The report is based on field research in Haryana, UP, MP and Rajasthan.
Jayshree Bajoria, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, said, “…as linkages are missing, it is not able to provide integrated services… the way it was envisioned,” she said. The report points out that rape survivors are often subjected to the “two-finger” tests and police refuse to register complaints, especially for victims from marginalised communities.