AMARAVATI: For the first time in the country, Disha Police Station established in Andhra Pradesh for the protection of women against any of sexual offences. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurated the 'Disha' police station in Rajamahendravaram on Saturday.

Have a look at the salient features of Disha Act and Disha police stations.

● Disha Act is the first of its kind in the history of our country, where an entire investigation completes within 7 days and trial within 14 days in cases where substantial conclusive evidence is available.

● As the crimes against women and children are increasing every year, the government of andhra Pradesh has come up with Disha act.

● In 2015, as many as 13088 crimes took place on women, where in 2019, they were increased to 15204.

● As part of the act, Disha Women Police Stations are being set up in all 18 police units, one each in each Police district and headed by DSP.

● These police stations will be equipped with facilities for women and children like creche, waiting halls, counselling rooms, baby care rooms etc.

● For the first time in the country hash value protected videography will be done in cases to strengthen the evidentiary value during trial.

● An exclusive control room to handle calls from women in distress will be set up, which will also be able to track the nearest emergency response vehicle and automatically dispatch it to the location of the victim and act quickly.

● Through the Disha App, one can just alert by just shaking their phone when in distress and unable to operate the phone, SOS will be sent to the Disha Control Room as well as their family members. Location of the caller as well as audio and video of 10 secs during the call will also be sent to the Disha Control Room to assess the situation for appropriate response.

● The state is equipped with two forensic labs one in Visakhapatnam and other in Tirupati. To these, a few more Disha Forensic Science Labs will be established with most advanced DNA equipment, Serology/Biology Equipment and cyber forensic tools .

● 13 exclusive courts one in each district are also being set up to exclusively handle cases relating to crimes against women and children. Special Public Prosecutors will also be appointed for these courts to ensure better conviction, which also enables to strengthen the current system by four times.

● 13 One stop centres are operational in the State for providing integrated set of services to victims and survivors of sexual violence, where each centre will have a staff of 19 people consisting of legal experts, case workers and counselors working 24X7. These centres will act as the first point of contact to victims for assisting in medical examination, facilitation in recording of statement and FIR, legal aid, social- psychological counselling and victim compensation.

● As per Section 354 E, which has been inserted in the Indian Penal Code, for harassing women through digital mode and social media a punishment of imprisonment extending up to two years will be given on first conviction. On Second conviction, imprisonment extending up to four years will be given.

● As per Section 354 F, punishment in cases of sexual assault on children will be ranging from 10 to 14 years of imprisonment.

● Death penalty has been prescribed as a punishment in cases of all heinous offences of rape where adequate conclusive evidence is there.

● Appeal in all cases of rape shall be disposed of within a period of 45 days.

● With a budget of Rs 25.7 Crores, 13 special courts will be set up in the State.

● With a budget of Rs 1.65 Crore, 13 special prosecutor posts will be filled.

● Rs 21,10 Crore has been allocated for Disha women police stations, Rs 31.37 Crore for forensic labs and Rs 7.265 Crore for the maintenance of disha app and call centre.

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