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News : Spread Awareness about 181 Helpline, HC Tells Government
New Delhi, Dec 13, 2014 -- Delhi government on Friday told the high court that the 181 women's distress helpline set up after the Nirbhaya case receives nearly 2,000 calls daily. In a comprehensive affidavit filed by the department of women and child development (WCD), the government stated that it is using specialized software to ensure data backup of every call.
"So far various types of complaints of stalking, eve-teasing, obscene call, sexual abuse and domestic violence have been addressed through this helpline," the government added, outlining steps taken to make the city safer for women.
The HC is hearing a PIL on increasing sexual offences against women and steps being taken to make Delhi more secure. It has already issued a series of directions to all agencies. It has also ordered Delhi Police to do "crime mapping" in areas prone to sexual offences against women.
The HC had asked for the status of 181 helpline and also sought to know of action taken since the Nirbhaya incident to improve policing/safety/security measures for women and also post crime compensation for survivors. The court also wants to know counseling measures put in place for traumatized rape survivors.
The WCD affidavit conceded only two One Stop Centres dedicated to rape survivors are operational — at Sanjay Gandhi Memorial and DDU hospitals.
However, nine other hospitals are yet to get such centres and work is either under execution or will begin shortly, the response says. The affidavit also contains comments by the home department that a women sub-inspector will be attached to each centre in 43 government hospitals of Delhi to attend to sexual assault victims.
In its reply, the WCD also assured HC it has earmarked a large portion of its budget for wide publicity to the 181 helpline. It added that almost Rs 7 crore were disbursed to self help groups registered with the department for running awareness campaigns such as "Awaz Uthao".
During the last hearing, the Delhi administration had said that last year it had introduced 181. But the HC bench was not impressed and had pointed out that "Everyone knows about 100. How many know of 181? You have to make it known to the people." It had stressed that a women's helpline was of no use if it was not publicized.
High Court is hearing a PIL filed by advocate Gaurav Bansal which cited surveys by independent groups claiming a spurt in crime against women and sought directions for taking adequate steps to prevent it.
The PIL pointed out that Delhi government had failed to provide an atmosphere conducive to the growth of girl students and women.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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