The guidelines cover state-run as well as private homes, and come after the recent rape of two minors at a children’s home at Pollachi.

In a major step to ensure the safety of women in hostels and homes, the Tamil Nadu government on Thursday framed guidelines for such facilities, putting the onus of protecting women equally on the owners and the official machinery.

The guidelines cover state-run as well as private homes, and come after the recent rape of two minors at a children’s home at Pollachi.

The stringent directives, which come into force immediately, have elaborated on the duty of all stakeholders, providing for a hands-on role for the police and the district administration in monitoring the facilities.

The 23-point guidelines, issued in a statement by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, specify infrastructure requirements for the homes, which have to be approved by officials before they could start functioning.

All homes and hostels with more than 50 inmates should have CCTV and Digital Video Recorders and appoint security staff. To restrict strangers from entering such hostels, the guidelines say only parents and authorised guardians can visit the wards, that too, in the presence of the warden.

While different buildings for boys and girls are preferred, co-ed hostels should have separate rooms for girls. If the facility is for teenage girls and women, the warden has to be a woman, and there should be a custodian for every 50 students.

To avoid appointment of persons with criminal background as wardens and security staff, a certificate of their conduct from the local police station is mandatory. Such persons should also provide medical certificates vouching for their physical and mental health. The directives also protect the interests of such wardens, with private homes being asked to provide adequate wages, which should not be lower than the minimum wages, to be determined periodically by the district administration.

The Collectors have been charged with ensuring that all such facilities are registered with the district administrations. With a list of such hostels, the Superintendent of Police should arrange for patrolling at the facilities, especially at night. The register documenting the patrolling should be scrutinised by the officer every month.

The police have also been asked to make a list of retired officers and ex-servicemen to help the management of the facilities in appointing security personnel.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said the duty of ensuring implementation of the guidelines was given to the Child Welfare Committees.

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