The Capital has a notorious record on women safety in public places. But an analysis of the distress calls made to a government helpline reveals that they face harassment and violence inside their homes too.
The 181 helpline for women— set up and being run by the Delhi government since 2012 after the December 16 gang rape has received as many as 8,51,455 complaints since its inception.
An analysis of the calls to the helpline shows that 79,782 women reported matters related to domestic violence —most of them sexual in nature.
Khadijah Faruqui, a lawyer and activist who heads the helpline service, said the government is now planning to add new safety features to the helpline including a GPS location tracking facility to ensure they can connect with the callers smoothly.
The helpline received a total of 8,51,455 distress calls and 6,66,684 cases have been registered under various heads against these calls.
“We need to strengthen the existing facility of 181 which is why we have chalked out a comprehensive plan, including a mobile app facility, which will help women to reach out to us,” said Faruqui.
According to officials, though calls related to sexual assault are also substantial in number, the helpline has given a platform to those facing violence inside their homes.
Sources said the Delhi government has also decided to allocate more funds for 181 which has been facing a fund crunch.
“Matrimonial rape has emerged as a big concern as a number of calls received by us are related to that. Sexual violence inside homes is a cause for worry and we have tried our best to counsel the women and have helped them file complaints,” Faruqui said.
Besides managing serious complaints like sexual harassment, attempt to rape, stalking, obscene calls, domestic violence or kidnapping, the helpline educates women about their rights and laws. The team led by Faruqui has 16 members, including four IT experts.
“Nearly 12% of the matters are related to obscene calls and 26% are about domestic violence. Other calls that we receive are related to stalking, sexual harassment, acid attack, kidnapping and abduction,” said a senior Delhi government official.