Mumbai: One Stop Centre for abuse survivors gets lukewarm response

Updated: Dec 27, 2019, 07:46 IST | Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Dean of KEM Hospital, where it is located, insists on not advertising, says the place needs to be kept confidential owing to sensitive nature of the issue

One Stop Centre opened at KEM Hospital, Parel, in September
One Stop Centre opened at KEM Hospital, Parel, in September

The city's first and only one-stop crisis centre for survivors of rape, sexual abuse and domestic violence has been approached by just 25 people since it was opened at KEM Hospital in Parel mid-November. While the hospital administration is hesitant about publicising the centre, the NGO running it has a strategy to spread the word about the place.

KEM Hospital Dean Dr Hemant Deshmukh said that due to the sensitive nature of the issue, discretion is important. "People will find out about the centre on their own. The One Stop Centre is supposed to be a confidential place, which is why we cannot advertise it too much."

NGO's plan
Meanwhile, SNEHA — the non-profit organisation — is working on a plan to ensure more survivors benefit from the centre. Dr Nayreen Daruwalla, programme head at SNEHA, said they will first focus on the staff of tertiary and peripheral hospitals in the city to create awareness.

"We are going to conduct workshops in those hospitals so that doctors and nurses can refer cases to us. Later, we will focus on the staff of health posts and other ways to spread awareness about the issue within the community. Once we do that, we are hoping that more women will come forward to get the help they need," she added. Besides, we will also train police officers from 35 police stations across the city next month, said Dr Daruwalla.

Domestic violence rape
According to the National Crime Records Bureau data, in 2017, more than 1,900 women were raped in Maharashtra and more than 6,500 cases of domestic violence were reported. Due to the social stigma, many cases go unreported.

Dr Daruwalla said that cases of domestic violence are higher than rape cases, and that none of the 25 cases involved victims of rape. Around 15 per cent to 16 per cent of them are victims of domestic violence, she added.

The OSC, which cost R1 crore and was inaugurated in September, runs 24/7 to offer not just treatment but counselling and legal aid too. The centre also offers shelter for women who have been subjected to violence and need a safe place. The centre, which also deals with survivors of child sexual abuse too, is a collaboration between the civic body and the Women and Child Development Department.

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