Mumbai Police to open 5 counselling centres for survivors of sexual crimes, violence
Mumbai Mumbai Police are all set to open five counselling centres – one each policing regions of the city – for psychological counselling of survivors of sexual offences, acid attacks and assault in order to help them get out of the post-incident trauma. Expert psychiatrists would be roped in for this initiative, the police said. The move has comes in the backdrop of the Sakinaka rape and murder case.
The initiative, ‘Saksham’ is being implemented by the city police in collaboration with a non-profit organisation (NGO). Police commissioner Hemant Nagrale is likely to inaugurate the first counselling centre at Vikhroli police station in a few days, sources said.
“During this counselling, the cops and NGO members will also try to help the survivors get jobs in order to ensure that if survivors restart their life their financial problems don’t become a hurdle on their way,” said a senior police officer.
As per National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) reports, Mumbai ranks number two among metro cities across the country with regards to crimes against women. In 2020, the city had reported 4,583 crimes against women, only second to Delhi city, which had recorded 9,782 crimes. In 2018, Mumbai had recorded 6,058 crime cases against women, while in 2019, the number was 6,519.
Besides giving psychological support to women, experts at these centres will also help children who have been survivors of sexual and domestic violence.
“Children were included in this initiative as serious crimes leave long-term, adverse impacts on their minds making them prone to choose wrong paths ahead in their life” said another police officer.
The accused arrested in crimes against women would also be profiled and subsequently counselled by cops and psychiatrists after they are released on bail. This is to deviate them from the path of crime and prevent further crimes. The counselling centres would see to it that if there is a scope of rehabilitation in any offender’s case, then they would try to help them in all possible ways, the officer said.
Another cop said that there has been already a counselling centre at place in Mumbai Police, but it generally deals with very few cases, probably due to lack of awareness among citizens. Officers there counsel mostly women filing complaints of dowry or domestic violence or divorce-related issues. Now with the new initiative, the police will cater to a broader need of psychiatric counselling to survivors of serious crimes.
Last year, Mumbai reported 332 rape cases (sexual assault on women above the age of 18 years), as compared to 967 in the country’s capital Delhi. However in cases of cybercrimes related to women (posting objectionable literature, defaming women, morphing, blackmailing, publishing or transmitting sexually explicit material), Mumbai ranked third with 58 cases, after Bengaluru (144) and Chennai (80 cases).