State govts approach DCW to replicate 181 success story
While it is facing investigation for allegations of corruption, state governments are approaching the Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) to replicate its success model of helping and reaching out to women in distress. According to DCW Chairperson Swati Maliwal, the state governments of Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh have approached the commission to replicate its success model in their states.
“A team of Rajasthan Women Commission recently visited the DCW office to discuss the workings of women helpline 181. They also visited our offices to have firsthand experiences of the operation,” said Swati Maliwal.
“Earlier, the Department of Social Welfare, government of Bihar visited the DCW officials in the month of September to study the systems of the helpline,” she added. In 2012, the helpline number 181 was announced by the government of India as a single emergency number for women in distress across the country. On the instruction of telecom ministry, government of India, the state governments were required to set up call centers and make 181 a helpline for distressed women. Four years after the directive, the reach of the helpline in most of the states still remains limited.
But after coming into power, the AAP government made drastic changes in the helpline by putting it under the DCW and giving more powers to the commission. Maliwal ensured better functioning of the helpline and her efforts resulted in phenomenal changes. “There have been more than three lakh calls that have been received by DCW from the time the control room came under DCW in the month of February,” said a senior officer of DCW.
Earlier, the helpline was merely operated as a referral service that used to transfer calls to the Delhi Police, ambulance and other relevant departments. Based on the figures provided by DCW, a team of sixty-six counselors, thirty-one contractual workers including the Information Technology (IT) experts are working for the toll free helpline system.
Besides this, the DCW has also added a fleet of twenty-two vehicles so that the counselors can reach to women in distress. According to the data most of the calls registered through 181 helpline are of domestic violence followed by stalking and dowry-related violence.