The Ministry of Women and Child Development has outlined necessary steps for dealing with sexual offences.
In a letter to Chief Ministers of all States and Union Territories, Union Minister for Women and Child Development (WCD) Maneka Gandhi highlighted various steps to be taken to prevent and curb crimes against women and children.
This comes at a time when the country is on the boil over Kathua and Unnao rape case.
According to one of the steps, all police officers should be re-trained on various aspects of sexual offences particularly those related to collection and preservation of evidence.
The ministry directed that instructions may be issued to all police officers that utmost priority is to be given to complete the investigation of cases of sexual offences against children as per the timelines of law.
The letter also stated that the state governments must take strict action against those police officers who are found to be obstructing the investigation or colluding with the perpetrators of such cases.
Gandhi further advocated for a special cell only for sexual offences or especially for sexual offences on children.
The ministry also offered help to State Governments in establishing forensic laboratories in states which can be used for forensic analysis of evidence in the investigation of sexual offences.
The WCD Minister further urged the states to generate awareness among the children in using the e-box set up under POCSO with child-help line number 1098.
She also highlighted that till date 175 One Stop Centres for women affected by violence have been set up by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
Another important component of the letter stressed that Section 21 of the POCSO Act may be invoked in all cases wherever failure to report or record is noted.
Section 21 states that any officer who fails to report or record the commission of an offence is liable for punishment.
The WCD Minister also invited suggestions from the State Governments on dealing with the crimes against women and children.