For women, children in distress, help is not far away

Amresh Parab & Abdul Wahab Khan | NT

Panaji: Women in distress can reach out to 112 the
emergency response support system (ERSS), 1091 the dedicated women helpline
number of the Goa police while 181 helpline number of the women and child
development department. Also there is a dedicated helpline number for children
1098 of Childline, an emergency phone service for children in need of aid and
assistance.

Women helpline number 1091 and 112: While the Goa police
have been receiving a number of distress calls from women, but calls pertaining
to woman stranded on the road late in the night owing to vehicular breakdown or
other issues are rare.

However the police have maintained that apart from other
emergency calls, the call of this nature wherein a stranded woman seeks help
has also been attended to. There have been few instances in the past wherein
women including tourists who were stranded have been helped/assisted by the
police control room (PCR) vehicles.

According to police officials, there is a system in place
especially when attending to a woman who is stranded especially at night. A
lady police constable accompanies the policemen on the PCR van and reaches the
location to assist the lady.

If the woman is from the locality then she is asked as to
whether anyone from the family or friends is coming or she needs to be dropped
home. Similarly the woman tourists, they are also asked and dropped at their
hotel if required.

A senior police officer said that whenever a call is made
to the police control room (112- ERSS), it is rightly attended to. There
are 64 police control room vehicles of which 10 are highway patrol vehicle.

Police also has a facility in place wherein location of
the caller can be tracked which enables quick response. The Goa police have a
dedicated women helpline number 1091 and it is operational round the clock to
attend the calls/complaints of women.

Women in distress can call on 1091 or 112 the Emergency
Response Support System (ERSS). Daily the police control room receives hundreds
of calls of which around 200 are actionable such as accidents related,
assaults, fights, women related and so on.

Police said that the ERSS is a single emergency helpline
number 112 that would replace the existing emergency services numbers ie 100
(police) 101(fire) and 108 (ambulance services). Although the numbers have been
integrated but the fire and the ambulance services will be operating
autonomously under their respective departments, police said.

Childline 1098: Childline helpline number 1098 is a
24-hour emergency phone service for children in need of aid and assistance. As
per information available the calls received are pertaining to issues related
child begging, child labor, domestic violence because of which children are
getting emotionally affected, sexual abuse, physical abuse etc.

Apart from adult, children also call on the helpline. The
Childline India Foundation (CIF) is the nodal agency of the Union Ministry of
Women and Child Development acting as the parent organisation for setting up,
managing and monitoring the childline 1098 service all over the country.

Any child or a concerned adult can dial the 1098. The
call is received by the childline centre where details about the situation are
taken from the caller and childline units are mobilised if necessary. Once
childline has enough details about child or children in distress, the childline
team rushes to help children within 60 minutes to bring children out of an
emergency situation. It works with multiple stakeholders such as police
authorities, child protection boards, social workers and counsellors.

Children’s consent and participation is an important
component of this process from response to intervention, reads information
available on its website. After the interventions, to ensure the child’s
continued safety, childline proceeds to find long-term rehabilitation for the
child. For this, the childline team does constant follow ups with the child –
meeting the family or visiting the shelter if a child has been assigned to stay
in one, mentions the website.

Women helpline number 181: The Department of Women and
Child Development has launched a universal helpline toll-free number for women
– 181 last year in September providing speedy support and relief to women in
distress, whether she needs counseling, legal aid, information on schemes,
emergency medical treatment or rescue in various threatening situations,
including domestic violence.

The toll-free helpline number operated by GVK EMRI, in
the last 14 months, has received more than 500 distress calls mostly relating
to domestic violence, property disputes, alcoholism of family members and dowry
harassment issues.

One drawback of the helpline is that the operators wait
for the caller to give her address, and cannot trace the caller’s location to
send emergency help as provided in many western countries but there is
mechanism developed under the 181 facility which enabled special team to
respond to cases within minutes across the state.

The phone numbers and details of all police stations have
been linked to the 181 helpline, so that problems of women reported from any
part of the state can be dealt with promptly.

When a victim calls 181, the call centre executive
collects the details such as the problem being faced, location and the contact
number. Later, he will alert the nearest police station and send a message to
the concerned station officer about the threat. The officer will send a police
team to the location to rescue the victim. If the caller is not able to convey
her location, or location conveyed by her is vague or erroneous, then there is
a possibility that the responding unit may not locate.

“When we get any emergency calls we explore all possible
options and redirect them to police, shelter home, counseling or other
redressal option depending on the situation and send help within few minutes.
There were also calls seeking information about various government schemes,”
the operator of 181 said.

However there is not much awareness created on this
universal free 24×7 helpline, 181, as a result on an average the centre receives
two to three calls a day.

Source:: The Navhind Times

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