India

Maharashtra govt's one-stop crisis centre for women in distress to come up in Mundhwa

Maharashtra govt's one-stop crisis centre for women in distress to come up in Mundhwa

A one-stop crisis centre — ‘Sakhi’ — will soon be set up at Mundhwa to support women in distress, such as those who face sexual harassment, domestic violence, trafficking, acid attacks and ‘honour crimes’. The state Women and Child Development (WCD) Department is also planning to set up such a centre at Phulenagar and has submitted a proposal to the Centre.

These centres have been planned across each state to facilitate access to an integrated range of services including medical, legal, and psychological support, WCD officials told The Indian Express. Recently, a one-stop crisis centre was set up at Mumbai.

In Pune, WCD officials have been running the centre on an experimental basis from a makeshift arrangement at two Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) hospitals, where 113 cases were dealt with. Now, the one-stop crisis centre will get a dedicated space in Mundhwa, said a WCD official.

These centres will provide rescue and referral services to women affected by violence.

The WCD department has also entrusted two NGOs — Maher and Chaitanya Mahila Mandal — with counselling work and efforts to help the women with their rehabilitation.

Apart from counselling services, links are also being developed with the 108 ambulance service and hospitals, so that medical aid can be provided as per the guidelines and protocols developed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said a WCD official.

From Maher, which provides shelter to destitute women in various centres across Pune, social worker Shruti Chintalwar has been counselling the women at the PMC-run Dalvi Hospital.

“The centre is expected to support women affected by violence, in private and public spaces, within the family, community and at the workplace. We mainly get cases of domestic violence, where the husband and wife have had petty fights due to problems related to the spouse’s tobacco and alcohol consumption habits,” said Chintalwar.

According to Jyoti Pathania, the founder of Chaitanya Mahila Mandal that runs a shelter home at Moshi, the WCD department has entrusted the NGOs with the responsibility of helping women facing physical, sexual, emotional, psychological and economic abuse.

“The one-stop crisis centre is expected to provide specialised service and our skilled counsellors are also available on call. In the last month, we have dealt with 24 cases… the counselling process gives women confidence and support to address violence or to seek justice. To facilitate access to justice for these women, legal aid and counselling would be provided at the one-stop crisis centres through empanelled lawyers or the Legal Service Authority,” said a WCD official.