After determining the potential reasons behind divorces in the city, the social service branch (SSB) of Mumbai police has stepped up efforts to save marriages by roping in professional counsellors.
“Now that we have understood the patterns, we are going to engage professionals in
counselling estranged couples,” Shekhar told HT. “Until now, we have been using traditional methods through our officers and women constables, but we are not professionals, and neither do we have the expertise to counsel couples who come from a wide spectrum of society. Whatever we are doing is based on our experience. But this is not enough,” Shekhar opined.
To shore up its efforts, Shekhar said the SSB will employ the help of psychiatrists, professional family counsellors, and NGOs working to restore family harmony. “They are better trained and experienced, and have proven expertise in counselling,” he said.
Shekhar said the police want to increase re-union cases by over 40% by next year. “We have saved around 375 marriages this year. Once expert hands are engaged, I am sure we will be able to prevent double the number of marriages from breaking up next year,” he said.
The SSB has started holding parleys with authorities at some of the best social study institutes in the city, hospitals (private and government), and also recognised NGOs, to provide counsellors for the cause.
Meanwhile, drawing inspiration from the United States of America and Germany, where governments reward couples in long-lasting marriages, the SSB plans to organise special functions — titled Sukh Samvad (happy communication) — to felicitate couples who patch up following consultancy by the police. “Home minister RR Patil has already endorsed the proposal and has given us a go-ahead,” Shekhar said.