A total of 16,960 cases of crime against women and children, including 2,568 rapes, have been reported in the last one year in Kerala. The state was recently rocked by the alleged abduction and harassment of a noted South Indian actress by a gang near Kochi. According to the state police’s provisional crime statistics, of the total rape cases, women were victims in 1,644 incidents while children in 924 reported cases across the state in 2016, compared to 1,263 and 720 in 2015 respectively.
Of the total crimes against women and children, 14,061 were against women and 2,899 against children, it said. The number of cases registered under Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act (POCSO) during the period was 2,093, it said. Besides rape, other crimes against women, including molestation, kidnapping, dowry death and cruelty by husbands/relatives, also showed an upward trend last year.
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Expressing concern over the alarming figures, Minister for Social Justice and Health, K K Shylaja said the state government was committed to taking stern action against those who attack women and children. “The government will act tough in the cases of atrocities against women and children and do all possible things to ensure justice to victims and award stringent punishment to culprits,” she told PTI. “The state home department is already making strong interventions to report and register such cases at the earliest. The cases will be framed in a flawless manner to ensure utmost punishment to the culprits,” the minister said.
Efforts would also be taken to improve facilities at courts to ensure speedy trials in such cases, she said. The minister also said the Department of Social Justice is getting ready to launch a 24×7 helpline for the support of women in view of increasing atrocities and harassment against them. “We are planning several programmes to empower women and equip them to fight against harassment. As part of this, the Kerala State Women’s Development Corporation under the Department of Social Justice will soon launch a helpline. Its operations will begin at IT hub Technopark here first and will be extended to other parts later,” Shylaja said.
Detailing other programmes of the government to help harassment victims, the minister said it has already announced interim relief for sex crime victims, both children and adults, and steps are already on to induct more women in the police force to make the investigations more women-friendly.
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