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Sakhi Centres provide hope to women in distress

Sakhi One Stop Centres functional in nine erstwhile undivided districts are emerging as the go to centres for women in distress.

While 1,907 cases were reported in the Sakhi centres till June 2018, of them 1,614 were related to domestic violence. In all 398 cases were from Ranga Reddy centre alone. It was followed by sexual assault and harassment cases with 69 cases reported in the nine centres, says B. Girija Devi of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and State Coordinator for Sakhi Centres.

The Centre in Ranga Reddy also accounted for the highest number of cases – 419 till June in the State. It had seen a spurt in July when it was approached by 376 women in distress in a single month. By word of mouth and awareness generated through publicity in the communities around, more and more women in helpless situations have been turning to Sakhi centres.

The maximum number of cases filed were related to domestic violence and 51 Detailed Investigation reports were filed. Six cases under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and 48 ‘harassment’ cases were also filed at the Ranga Reddy centre.

The footfall has increased as the one-stop centres provide assistance in the form of psychosocial counselling, legal aid, medical assistance and emergency shelter all under one roof, say representatives of Sakhi centre run by Ankuram – Woman and Child Development Society at Vanasthalipuram. This centre counselled 50 families, issued 54 summons and extended assistance to 80 women in July.

The initiative by ‘She Teams’ of police brought serious cases to Ranga Reddy Sakhi Centre where FIRs were registered. A case involving a 33-year-old woman duped by a Nigerian brought to light the manner in which several women were being forced to peddle drugs.

The woman approached the Sakhi centre and complained that the accused Nigerian claimed to be in garment business duped her after promising to marry her. He started not only sexually abusing her but forced her to peddle drugs threatening to upload her nude pictures if she did not relent. She revealed to police officers that many women were trapped similarly, given drugs and forced into prostitution or into selling drugs. The woman was accommodated in the emergency shelter and an FIR was filed against the accused, Centre representatives said.

Helpine launched

The centre’s website sakhirangareddydistrict.org and Whatapp no.7382544181 were formally launched by the Transport Minister P.Mahender Reddy in July.

The TISS is the knowledge and technical partner of the Telangana government in running the Sakhi centres systematically by providing training and capacity building programmes for the staff and counsellors.

Extra marital affairs, domestic violence, disputes with in-laws’ family, physical abuse, liquor addiction and sexual assaults, mental agony have been driving women to file cases against their spouses and seek assistance of Sakhi centres to fight for their rights and seek justice.

“The intervention by the Sakhi centres is acting as deterrent. In a significant number of cases, the disputes were resolved after counselling the couples and women decided to go back home after few days of stay at the temporary shelter in the centre,” Sakhi Centre representatives said.


What Sakhi Centres did

The one-stop centres provided assistance in the form of psychosocial counselling, legal aid, medical assistance and emergency shelter all under one roof.

The Ranga Reddy centre counselled 50 families, issued 54 summons and extended assistance to 80 women in July.

The centre’s website sakhirangareddydistrict.org and Whatapp No. +917382544181 were formally launched by the Transport Minister P. Mahender Reddy in July.

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