THIRUVANANTHAPURAM -- The Kerala government will launch a registry of sex offenders, the first of its kind in the country, Governor Justice (Retd) P Sathasivam said on Thursday.
The registry will contain all identification details of sex offenders and would be kept in public domain, he said while detailing plans to check atrocities against women in the state. "It will be the first in the country," he said.
Addressing the opening day of the fourth session of the 14th Legislative Assembly, Sathasivam also said that the CPI(M)-led LDF government will set up a comprehensive relief fund for victims of sex crimes.
The announcements come days after an actress was abducted and sexually assaulted in a moving car while returning from a shooting site in Kochi.
"Though the Nirbhaya Cell under the Department of Social Justice has been functioning commendably in the state, Kerala lacked a comprehensive victim relief fund.
"Although some of the victims get some amount of money, the relief due to them for the damages they suffer are delayed due to this shortcoming," Sathasivam said.
"Government will set up a comprehensive victim relief fund to provide interim relief for victims of sex crimes, both children and adults," he said.
Sathasivam also said the increasing impunity of sexual offences due to lack of social deterrence is a growing concern all over the country.
To address the issues of women, the LDF government has decided to create a separate department for women, which is in the final stage of operationalisation, and will set up all women police stations at the taluk levels, he said.
The government also plans to make the visit of a lady police officer to every panchayat mandatory on a per-announced date and time, he said.
"The government has already started the first women's battalion this year and is committed to increase the women's share in the force by 15 per cent and believe that it should be at least 50 per cent," Sathasivam added.
Congress-led UDF members came to the floor with banners that read 'no safety for women in the state', in the backdrop of the the recent sexual assault of the actress. They protested when the Governor said all necessary measures would be taken for the safety of women.
However, the Governor continued the address and said "my government will brook no travesty to their dignity and shall not pardon any action from anyone that is calculated to be an affront to women.
Among the slew of measures announced for the social welfare front, Sathasivam said the LDF government intends to undertake a 'vulnerability mapping' exercise through a detailed survey to identify children living in difficult circumstances.
Another significant measure would be to declare Kerala a 'child begging free state' within the next one year, he said.
In a solace to the transgender community, he said a skill and employment programme would be launched for them.
The Kerala State Women's Development Corporation plans to launch a helpline for women to ensure their safety and promote gender sensitisation, he added.
On the tribal welfare front, he said the LDF government's policy is 'Live with Freedom'.
"So that they are left free of outsider influence to choose the path of development they desire," the Governor added.
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