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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

Online stalkers target women, WPL gets 724,000 complaints in three years

lucknow Updated: Dec 04, 2019 20:35 IST
Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar
Hindustantimes
         

Uttar Pradesh tops the list in crime against women, according to National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) data, and the situation is much worse when it comes to online harassment of women, going by the data available with the 1090 Woman Power Line (WPL) helpline service which has received 7.24 lakh (724,000) such complaints in nearly three years.

As many as 56,011 cases of crime against women were registered in the state in 2017, the NCRB data said.

The same year, 2.21 lakh (221,000) complaints of online harassment, cyber bullying, threats and stalking from across the state were registered with the 1090 Woman Power Line service, according to WPL data.

The number of such complaints is on the rise since then. While 2.66 lakh (266,000) complaints were registered in 2018, 2.37 lakh (237,000) complaints were lodged till October 31 this year, according to WPL data.

Additional director general (ADG), WPL 1090, Anju Gupta said, “The complaints vary from cyber bullying, online threat, harassment to blackmailing and defamation.”

“If we go by the data of the last two years in 89% of these cases, the women are harassed on popular online social media platforms like Whatsapp, Facebook and Instagram,” the officer added.

The perpetrators also use net calling, porn sites and an array of social media platforms to harass women, she said.

While 96% of the complaints received at 1090 WPL were lodged by women in the age group of 15 to 50 years, 42% were in the age group of 15 to 25 years. The victims comprised students (34%), working women (11%) and non-working women (53%).

“The mandate of WPL 1090 is to provide assistance to women who approach us for help. We keep their identities secret and take required action against the perpetrators,” said the ADG.

“Since 2017, we have managed to successfully resolve 99% of the complaints registered with us,” she added.

This year, 46% of complaints with WPL were lodged by women in the rural area, data available with WPL showed.

In 2017, only 14% of complainants were from the rural areas.

“The increase in the number of complainants from rural areas is a positive sign. This shows that WPL 1090 has managed to percolate even to rural pockets and has given a platform to women there for lodging complaints,” the ADG said.

Expansion under safe city project

The operation of Women Power Line 1090 is set to be expanded by the next year under the safe city project in which Lucknow is one of the cities.

“The first floor of the WPL 1090 (building) will be constructed under the expansion project. The expansion will increase our operating capacity and will directly aid in creating a safe environment for women in the state,” said Gupta.

The expansion will be funded by the Nirbhaya fund.

Integration with other emergency services

WPL 1090 is working on integration with other emergency services like 112. Once the integration is complete, calls that are being received by these agencies pertaining to WPL 1090 will be forwarded directly to them. A mobile application of 1090 has also been developed, which is being currently being tested as a pilot model. The mobile application will also be integrated with the mobile applications of other emergency services.

100 pink booths, 110 pink patrol vehicles on cards in Lucknow

The state capital will get 110 pink patrol vehicles, which will be used by women police personnel, to ensure prevention of street crime against women.

The patrol will also act as early responders to help women in distress. An additional 100 pink police booths will be set up across the state capital. Women police staff will be posted at these booths to lodge complaints of women. Both these projects will be funded by the Nirbhaya fund.