The general perception that women are safe in their homes has been shattered.
The Delhi government women's helpline receives a staggering 450 or more calls every day; nearly 90% of these calls are of domestic violence and from women in distress in their own homes. Compare this to the 50 or so calls received by the anti-obscene helpline every day.
"The issues range from domestic and sexual violence to harassment by husbands and male relatives for property. However, a majority of them are related to domestic violence. The nature of these calls is such that rather than police action it requires counselling which we feel can be done better by women counsellors," said a senior Delhi police official.
To help women who require counselling much more than police action, the Delhi government has decided to provide women counsellors to attend to them.
"The general perception is such that women face harassment only in public places but the number of calls that the police's helpline has received suggests that we need to concentrate on calls pertaining to harassment that women face at home," said a senior Delhi government official.
The anti-obscene helpline, which one can call by dialling 1096, has received 20,014 calls in 2011, while in 2012 till July the figure stands at 11,476. On the other hand, the women's helpline (1091) is always ringing and has received 13,600 calls in a month's time.
"While entertaining distress calls, one needs to talk in a specific manner as the person is looking for emotional support. This is something which the counsellors are much better at providing rather than the police. This is one of the reasons we decided to depute some of our counsellors at the Delhi police control room," said a senior government official.
Delhi police has also formed a Crime Against Women Cell in each of its 11 districts.