Helpline 103 received fewer calls from Mumbai women in distress in 2017

The helpline got 389 calls from women in distress in 2017 compared to 1,169 calls previous year

mumbai Updated: Feb 23, 2018 10:24 IST
Megha Sood
Megha Sood
Hindustan Times
Mumbai,women safety,children safety
The drastic drop of 67%, the police said, was because of lack of awareness.(HT FILE)

The ambitious helpline 103 to prevent crimes against women and children seems to have little impact as it received only 389 calls from women in distress in 2017 compared to 1,169 calls previous year, showed the Mumbai police data.

The drastic drop of 67%, the police said, was because of lack of awareness. In 2016, the special helpline was advertised, which was discontinued the following year. Activists have demanded that the Mumbai police use their Twitter handle and other means to advertise the helpline.

Apart from crimes against women and children, the helpline and SMS service, launched in 2008, receives calls over neighbourhood quarrels.

The police have discontinued several special helplines owing to lukewarm response from the public over the years.

According to women police officials, the number 100 is ingrained in people, which is not the case with 103. “Of the 30 to 40 calls received daily on the helpline, only three to four calls are forwarded to the concerned police station for action. The rest are either frivolous or information seeking calls,” said Deepak Devraj, deputy commissioner of police (operations).

Devraj said each police station has five mobile vans which attend to distress calls from women.

In 2011, non-governmental organisation Akshara had carried out a survey and found that only 12% of the women respondents (5,000) were aware of helpline 103. “We had emphasised to roll out a dedicated helpline to give women’s issues more attention. Earlier there were just three lines and a few trained professionals, which kept the number perpetually busy. Even now (with increasing lines), not many women or senior citizens are aware of the helpline as the Mumbai police have stopped the publicity drive,” said Dr Nandita Shah, co-director of Akshara.

“People are making calls to 100 for all kinds of emergencies because it is more popular. However, 103 is still important as women feel that special attention has been given to them,” added Shah. The Mumbai police’s Twitter account, which has 4.3 million followers, should spread the word about 103, said Shah.

First Published: Feb 23, 2018 10:23 IST