News : Rising Number of Calls to Women’s Police Helpline
Kochi, India, Sept 20, 2015 -- Underlining the safety issues women increasingly face within their homes, there has been a sporadic increase in the number of women calling up the toll-free women’s helpline number 1091.
There have been more calls from women facing domestic violence or abusive alcoholic-husbands than from those seeking help for issues they face outside the home, says Shalet Mani, Circle Inspector, Women’s Cell.
The callers belong to a whole spectrum, from women who had recently got married to the middle-aged or old, and from poor homes and well-do-do families.
Though the helpline has been in operation since 2009, it is only recently that women by and large have begun making use of it.
"We have even elderly women calling up requesting things such as police intervention to set right an alcoholic son," she said.
Many of the calls lead the Women’s Cell to holding counselling session for the families concerned. A counsellor is arranged by the cell on definite days and a follow-up is done on the cases, added the CI.
Over the whole of last year, the helpline registered only about 800 calls. But this year (until September 17) it has already had over 900 calls. In some months, it logged nearly 200 calls, she added.
However, fewer women still call up for help when they are in danger outside of their homes, perhaps since the idea and utility of a women police helpline has not yet registered adequately.
Interestingly, the helpline also had calls from women who sought directions to a particular destination and those who just wanted shelter for the night. The Women’s Cell ensures that the caller is taken to a shelter home, said Ms. Mani, adding that in many cases, circumstances made them leave their home in a hurry, and many would want to go back later.
The helpline numbers have been put up in all buses, bus stands, railway stations and other public places, said Ms. Mani. The helpline works 24x7 and is handled by an all-women team, she added.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, September 24, 2015