‘181’ – Women Helpline launched

Shillong,May 12: With an aim to help women in distress and victims of sexual violence and other atrocities, a Women Helpline-181 was launched today at the Directorate of Social Welfare, Meghalaya. The programme was organised by the Social Welfare Department with the support of the Aman Kachroo Trust.
Smti T. Phanbuh, Chairperson, Meghalaya State Commission for Women graced the launching programme as the Chief Guest. The programme was also attended by Additional Chief Secretary, Shri H. Marwein, Secretary and Director, Social Welfare Department, Shri H. M. Shangpliang, Chairperson, SCPCR, Smti. M. Kharkongor, Dr. R. O. Budnah, Director of Health Services (MI), Dr. D. Lyngdoh, Director of Health Services (MCH&FW) among others.

Highlighting about violence against women and a huge number of cases where perpetrators gets away without conviction because of lack of proper mechanism which left victims helpless, the helpline is a long-felt need for the women in distress and the launching of the women helpline will be a boon in reaching out to those who are in need of help, said Smti T. Phanbuh while addressing the gathering of officials from the Police and Health Departments and representatives from the NGOs, Civil Societies and service providers working for the cause of women. She also appealed the working staff of the Women Helpline to dedicate themselves for the cause and work sincerely to make the objective of restoring the faith and dignity of women.
Additional Chief Secretary to the Government of Meghalaya I/c Social Welfare Department, Shri H. Marwein said that the helpline is an effective mechanism that will go a long way in curbing sexual abuse and atrocities against women. He also stressed on the importance and the need for work in coordination between the line departments to make the objective a success.

Secretary and Director, Social Welfare Department, Shri H. M. Shangpliang in his introductory speech, explained about the setup and strength of the staff manning the helpline and hoped that every woman in distress and those who are being oppressed will benefit from the helpline.
Earlier, Prof. Raj Kachroo, Founder Trustee, Aman Satya Kachroo Trust, explained about the concept and background of the Sakhi Centre and the 181 Women Helpline number.

Universal Women Helpline (Sakhi/181) is a scheme of the Union Government to restore Equality & Dignity of women in India. A Sakhi centre is a one stop crisis centre. The 181 Women Helpline staff will be on duty 24×7 and the call responders will receive calls and the case will be registered and transferred to the Sakhi Centre, which is presently based in Ganesh Das Government Maternal and Child Health Hospital, Shillong, where the staff will represent (Not Refer) a Women in Distress (WID) in front of state service providers like police, legal services authorities, protection officers, counsellors, Women’s Commissions etc. The initiative is an attempt to provide all kinds of assistance including legal, police, medical help, counselling and temporary support services to women affected by violence.

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