Thursday , 22 March 2018

Soon, free 24×7 emergency helpline for women in Goa

PANAJI: To help tackle crimes against women and increase awareness about their rights, the women and child development department in association with GVK EMRI will soon be launching – 181, the national women’s emergency helpline in the state.

The free 24×7 helpline, 181, is a toll-free number to support women in distress and is accessible through any mobile or landline. Any woman can access 181 helpline for the purpose of counselling, guidance, information and also for rescue in various threatening situations including domestic violence.

This helpline service will be operated by GVK EMRI with the existing infrastructure available with them for responding medical emergency situation.

The helpline will provide 24-hour telecom service to women affected by violence seeking support and information. Those who call the number would be given proper help through referral to the appropriate agencies such as police, ambulance services, District Legal Service Authority (DLSA), protection officer (PO).

The three-digit helpline number was launched in the year 2013 after the Nirbhaya episode. The department of telecommunications had later written to chief ministers of all states asking them to make the helpline available.

The emergency helpline will be synchronised with the existing 1091 – police helpline for women in distress and other women-oriented services.

According to the data made available by the state government, there has been steep rise in crime against women including molestation, eve-teasing, kidnapping, rape cases, immoral trafficking, dowry deaths and cruelty against married women in last four years.

According to data available with the home department, since 2014 over 1,800 cases of violence against women were registered in various police stations in the state. In the year 2014, the police department received 553 cases, while in 2015 as many as 448 cases were registered, and in 2016, a total 410 cases were reported whereas in 2017 till November the figures were 363. Non-government organisations, however, have been stressing on the need to strengthen and create awareness about existing schemes and helplines so as to ensure successful use of 181.

The rise in the number of complaints means that the awareness about the Domestic Violence Act is increasing, the officials of the state commission for women said. The officials, however, added that education is not aiding people in understanding gender roles and many different layers in a male-female relationship.

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