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Goa police rules on sexual orientation, alternative sexuality

Goa police rules on sexual orientation, alternative sexuality
Highlights

Frowning on a woman\'s sexual orientation or alternative sexuality and making comments about a sexual offence victim\'s background, character and lifestyle are a strict no-no for Goa\'s cops from now on.

Panaji: Frowning on a woman's sexual orientation or alternative sexuality and making comments about a sexual offence victim's background, character and lifestyle are a strict no-no for Goa's cops from now on.
After months of brainstorming with women's rights groups in Goa, the state police have evolved a written protocol which, according to Director General of Police (DGP) T.N. Mohan, will be followed by his men, failing which action would be taken against them.
The protocol aims to do away with grey areas when it comes to the police's handling of crimes against women and children and lays down operational as well as behavioural etiquette which the police will now have to compulsorily follow.
For example, when it comes to dealing with sexual violence cases, the protocol asks the police not to "make comments about the victim's background, lifestyle, etc. No person has a right to violate the body". It also asks the police not to "ridicule" or "look down upon" people with different sexual orientations or counsel women about their sexual orientation.
The manner in which the state police have dealt with cases involving sexual offences in the recent past has come under severe scrutiny from the media and civil society groups, especially after a woman forced into prostitution complained to a local police station in Mapusa, 15 km from here, only to be raped at the police station.
Both former chief minister and successive governors have expressed concern over crimes against women in the state.
Mohan said that the protocol would be binding on all police officers and anyone found violating it would not be spared.
"Action will be taken against those who do not follow it," Mohan told IANS.
He said that while most of the procedures made in the protocol were expected of the police, the document was necessary to eliminate the possibility of any grey areas when it comes to tackling crimes against women and children.
"Through the protocol we are only making things clearer, so that when a woman comes to a police station or approaches the police as a victim, the procedures mentioned in the protocol will have to be followed. Women's groups who accompany victims can also demand that the norms laid out in the protocol should be implemented," Mohan said.
The top cop further said that the protocol even instructs the police on how to handle a case of a drunk husband beating up his wife, claiming domestic violence instances were on the rise in Goa.
"In case of alcoholism, the intoxicated person should be brought to the police station till he sobers as preventive action to stop any violence," Mohan said.
The protocol also has a code for the police for dealing with women who are single, separated or divorced. It asks the men in uniform not to be needlessly curious.
"Police should not ask personal details and reasons for their status. Most often these details are sought despite not being relevant to the complaint," Mohan said.
According to Sabina Martins, whose NGO Bailancho Saad partnered with the police in drawing up the protocol, said that it would provide clarity to both the police as well as women victims of crime.
"Now we know what to demand from the police at a police station and they know what is exactly expected of them. There is no scope for misunderstanding. But hopefully the protocol will evolve and get more and more comprehensive over time," Martins told IANS.
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