Over 2k Pocso victims compensated in 6 yrs
Rs 34 crore credited to victims’ bank accounts. Release of funds easier now, as order copy mentions compensation amount
CHENNAI: The State government under the victim compensation fund of the Protection of Children from Sexual offences (Pocso) Act, has given the compensation of Rs 34.74 crore to 2,127 victims between 2017-18 and March 2023.
To expedite the release of funds to rightful victims and within with announced duration, the Directorate of Social Defence has removed District Child Protection Officer’s (DCPO) role in availing the funds from this year.
This is being done to directly credit the amount to the victim’s bank account, without any procedural delay. Speaking to DT Next, a higher official with the Directorate said, “Under the Pocso Act, a guideline to issue compensation came to effect in 2021. As we noticed an accumulation of proposals, we expedited the release of funds on a priority basis. We’ve cleared the proposals from 2017-18 until March this year. So far, Rs 34.74 crore has been released to 2,127 victims.”
Subsequently, from April-July 2023, the Directorate has received 560 proposals, and Rs 9 crore is being dispensed, as per department officials. Furthermore, funds had been released in 315 Pocso cases with interim hearing and 209 cases for final hearing.
“The funds released so far are for older cases filed at the special Pocso court. As soon as the final hearing is given, we disperse the amount,” said department official.
The release of funds is easier now compared to previous years because of the order copy mentioning the compensation amount, say officials. “The compensation amount is clearly mentioned in all cases, thus hastening the process,” the official added.
Commenting on the lack of awareness in availing these funds, K Selvapriya, the former public prosecutor (PP) of Mahila Court, Cuddalore, explained, “Not all cases filed under Pocso reach the court for a hearing, as many victims tend to turn hostile after verbal agreements with the accused, even for meagre amounts like Rs 15,000. And, lack of awareness of these funds by the government is another reason for many withdrawing cases too. However, compared to previous years, the compensations are released quicker.”