Hell-line may turn into Help-line, soon

With the crime rate escalating in our capital, the government has finally devised a plan to start secure all the loose ends in the system. The first glitch was identified in what should have been the last stop in crises situations- the women’s distress help-line 181. This helpline, functioning with only 3 lines and a meagre 16 employees manning the equipment, was grossly in equipped to handle the bulk of calls and complaints coming their way.


181 was set up after the December 16 gang rape, by then Chief-Minister Sheila Dikshit, as a half hearted attempt to provide more safety mechanisms in a city with figures of violence against women climbing by the second under her regime.


As told to NDTV by a senior Delhi Government official, they are in the process of revamping the 181 women’s distress helpline, as they were short of resources to cater to all the calls that they received on it. According to Khadijah Faruqui, consultant of the 181 helpline, the manpower and infrastructure is insufficient to handle the large number of calls that it receives.


Over the past two years, their unpreparedness resulted in over 30 percent of the call traffic either getting dropped in transmission or going unattended to. A disturbing report reveals that as many as 8,51,455 complaints have been lodged with them, out of which 666684 calls cases have been registered.


[Picture Credits: Deccan Chronicle]


The bifurcation of those calls, on the basis of the nature of the crime is: 5310 calls for kidnapping cases, 436 cases related to sexual abuse at workplace, 12435 calls related to child sexual abuse, 615 calls to report acid attacks and 79782 calls to notify about domestic violence.


The Delhi High Court also intervened in the situation and laid emphasis on publicizing the option of this helpline better, as people were hardly aware of its existence. Most people would directly dial 100 in cases of emergency. Realizing that the lines need to be publicized to serve any purpose, the Delhi government held meetings trying to come up with ways to do the same.


And in anticipation of this increased traffic, Ms Faruqui, the infrastructural arrangements  also have to be upped, so that they can do full justice to what they have proposed, and no single plea for help goes unaddressed.

The authorities are also contemplating adding a GPS location tracking facility.

The December 5 rape of a young Delhi woman by a private company cab driver has exposed inadequacies in the system, sparking a frenzy of public outrage over the city failing its women on yet another occasion.