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Helpline boon for women

The social welfare department’s helpline for women has come as a boon in the district.

Sonali (name changed) had lost all hopes of having a happy married life after her husband held her responsible for not being able to bear a child even after 10 years of their wedding.

Tortured and devastated, the girl was forced to come back to her parent’s home in Munger. However, after getting to know about the helpline, she decided to approach it as a last resort to save her marriage.

Shipra Kumari, project manager, Women’s Helpline, said: “We called up her husband and counselled the couple about their problem. After some persuasion, the husband agrees to take Sonali back to his home. He even got her treated for infertility and at present, the couple are proud parents of a child.”

The helpline was set up by the state government in November 2011.

Sharing another such incident, the project manager said: “A married man had a relation with his sister-in-law. He used to torture his wife for opposing his act. The wife approached the helpline. We counselled the husband and informed him about the consequences if he didn’t mend his ways. The husband agreed and the marriage was saved.”

Shipra Kumari works with another associate, Anjali Kumari, at the helpline. The counsellor solved several such cases in the district since its inception in 2011.

The helpline does not have statistics regarding the total number of cases it had received since its inception in 2011. According to current figures (from January this year till date) it has received 52 cases of domestic violence so far. Of the 52, criminal cases have been lodged against the offenders in five instances while 18 have been solved through counselling. “Our team is studying the remaining cases after which follow up action would be taken,” Shipra said.

The helpline also receives cases of domestic violence.

The complainant can call the helpline (09771468020). The project manager asks the complainant to submit an application. The project manager and Anjali Kumari study the case and based on the merit of the case issue a notice to the perpetrator. Then both the parties are asked to appear before the panel on fixed dates for counselling. The parties are generally counselled over a period of three to four days after which they are asked to reach to an agreement. In case the parties fail to reach an agreement, they are directed to approach the police stations.