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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Sensitising cops a must, says study

Neelam Pandey, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 20, 2012
First Published: 02:01 IST(20/12/2012) | Last Updated: 02:04 IST(20/12/2012)

Amid uproar over Delhi not being safe for women, a study by the Delhi government has revealed that the police officers who attend calls made to women helpline numbers need to be sensitised and trained to deal with those in distress. The study pointed out several loopholes and a report will be forwarded to the Delhi Police to fix them.

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State government officials said the study was conducted to understand women’s experience and response from police helpline so that the helpline system could be strengthened. The helpline — 1091— caters to the women in distress.

The findings reveal that nearly 50% of the respondents had not heard of the helpline number. “Among those who approached the police helpline, almost all have reported either a very slow response or no response. Most respondents feel that approaching the police for help is ineffective and prefer to turn to family members and friends,” the study says.

The study also points out that women from the Northeast, other parts of the country and other countries face immense difficulty in communication as the operators find it difficult to deal with callers who are not fluent in Hindi.

“With no manual available to the police officers who attend calls, the interaction is limited. Calls are also not tracked to check the extent of interventions made by the police,” said a senior Delhi government official.

To tackle the problem, the Delhi government has prepared a training module for police personnel. “We would be able to roll out the first batch of this training in second or third week of January,” said women and child development minister Kiran Walia.

Adding to the woes, the helpline staff are transferred regularly leaving little connection with callers. “There is no feedback system for callers to register their grievance after a call is made,” the official added.

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