Both boys and girls are equally at risk of child sexual abuse. The Maharashtra government has therefore decided that its Manodhairya scheme, which offers compensation for rape survivors, will treat survivors of child sexual abuse in a gender-neutral manner. In simple words, both boys and girls who have faced sexual assault will receive financial assistance.
The scheme offers compensation between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for rape and acid attack survivors.
"It is hereby specifically clarified that this aspect of the Manodhairya scheme (for compensation to survivors of child sexual abuse) is gender-neutral and will apply equally to all the survivors, irrespective of their sex," says the scheme formulated by a committee comprising Justice Mridula Bhatkar, Justice Girish Kulkarni, advocate general Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and the principal secretary, women and child welfare department.
A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Mahesh Sonak on Thursday (Nov 30) gave its nod to the scheme and directed the state government to notify it within a month so that it can be implemented across Maharashtra.
"Every year, the women and child welfare department will allocate a sum of Rs 75 crore for the scheme," - Ashutosh Kumbhakoni
- Cases of gangrape where the victim has suffered grievous injury and incidents where the woman, who has been raped, incurs permanent physical or mental disability will get a compensation of up to Rs 10 lakh.
- In cases where a woman has been raped and murdered, her legal heirs will be provided compensation of up to Rs 10 lakh. In all other cases of rape, the financial assistance will be up to Rs 3 lakh.
- Where the victim of sexual assault is a minor boy or girl, who suffers permanent disability or is mentally traumatized, monetary help of upto Rs 10 lakh will be provided.
- For other cases of child sexual abuse, the compensation has been determined at Rs 3 lakh.
- Depending on the severity of the case, acid attack victims will also be eligible for financial help of between Rs 3 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.
- The state legal services authority will decide the claims and disburse the compensation amount.
- The scheme also has a provision to recover the amount from victims if they turn hostile during trial and do not support the prosecution case.
- The authority has also been empowered to disburse Rs 30,000 as immediate relief to the victim within seven days.
Besides financial compensation, the committee has recommended that the state should initiate setting up at least one specially trained trauma team in every district to provide the victims with emotional support, guidance and medical help.
"All victims shall be treated in all government, semi-government, corporation or municipal hospital and medical centres, with utmost priority and completely free of cost," the report stated.