With the national capital witnessing a rise in crimes against women, Delhi government is revamping the women’s distress helpline 181 set up after the December 16 gang rape incident.
“We are in the process of revamping the 181 women’s distress helpline as it has been brought to our notice that not all calls are being catered to due to limitation in resources,” said a senior Delhi government official.
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.
The helpline has three functioning phone lines managed by 16 women staffers.
“With just three phones lines, around 30 per cent of distress calls are dropped. Also we have few people and we need more manpower,” said Faruqui, adding the helpline since its inception has responded to as many as 8,51,455 complaints.
The High court, a few days back, had pointed out that “Everyone knows about 100. How many know of 181? You have to make it known to the people.” It had stressed that a women’s helpline was of no use if it was not publicized.
Following this, Delhi government held meetings over the issue of publicising the number. According to Faruqui, along with more awareness even infrastructure has to be spruced so that each and every call is attended.
Also, the Delhi government official said that they are planning to add new safety features to the helpline including a GPS location tracking facility.
Out of 8,51,455 calls, in 666684 calls cases have been registered.
5310 calls belonged to kidnapping cases, 436 cases of related to sexual abuse at workplace, 12435 calls related to child sexual abuse, 615 calls of acid attack and 79782 calls to report domestic violence.
The helpline was launched with much fandare by the then-chief minister Sheila Dikshit after a 23-year-old physiotherapy intern was brutally gangraped and murdered in a moving bus in December 16, 2012.
The recent rape of an executive by a cab driver has evoked outrage from various quaters of the society bringing the issue of women’s safety in the focus again.