Krishna Velupillai and Zubeda Hamid

No full-time officer to handle domestic violence cases

GO said district social officers to be appointed as protection officers

NGOs authorised to receive complaints of domestic violenc

CHENNAI: A government order issued on December 19 last year said that district social officers would be appointed “temporarily as a stop gap arrangement” as protection officers under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Almost eight months later, the “stop gap arrangement” remains in place. The city is yet to see the appointment of a full-time protection officer.

Under the Act, it is protection officers and service providers — NGOs or other organisations that have experience in the field of domestic violence — that are authorised to receive complaints of domestic violence. The protection officer is also responsible for handling these cases.

The Department of Social Welfare has appointed two service providers in Chennai – one is Vishranthi, a home for aged and destitute women, and the other the All India Democratic Women’s Association.

Savithri Vaithi, founder and chairperson of Vishranthi says that she received a letter around March appointing the organisation a service provider. However, they are yet to told what their position entails.

According to a member dealing with the act in AIDWA, the group faces enormous trouble in implementing the act. “There was no Tamil translation of the form,” she said, referring to the form that the service provider is required to fill on receiving a compliant.

According to records at the district social welfare office, 31 cases have been registered under the act since its implementation. Two of these have gone to court and are being processed.

Three have been resolved through counselling, three others transferred to other districts. The remaining 23 are either pending inquiry or are yet to be sent to the magistrate.

K. Manivasan, Director of Social Welfare said appointment of a full-time protection officer involves “the creation of a new post.” He did not give a time frame as to when this would happen.

“Awareness programmes have been held in Trichy and Erode,” he said, adding that they would conduct one in Chennai too. “It is a new act. It takes time,” he said.