Activists said that the government needs to give women an action plan for the lockdown period as well as for after it.

Tamil Nadu gets womens helpline receives 394 calls on day of launch(Image for representation)
Coronavirus Women's welfare Thursday, April 23, 2020 - 09:41

Crimes against women are on the rise during the lockdown and to tackle this, the Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women has issued helpline numbers to provide counselling and legal help to affected women. The Commission has assigned representatives and issued phone numbers of counsellors across all districts in the state.

On the day the helpline was launched, the Commission received 394 calls from across districts.

Speaking to TNM, Tamil Nadu State Commission for Women Chairperson Dr Kannegi Packianathan said, “Our representatives received 394 calls in total yesterday. We received calls from women seeking counselling on issues including domestic violence. In certain cases, the women had called to get information on getting movement passes.”

For cases that are sensitive or involve domestic violence, Kannegi said, “We talk to them in detail about their problems and counsel them in the first place. If their husbands are cooperative, we give counselling to them as well. We try to solve the problem then and there, without letting the problem grow.”

For women in situations that are out of hand and need to come to the one-stop centres, Kannegi said, “Under normal circumstances, if a woman faces constant pressure and is subject to violence, they can report to our one-stop centres. However, as they cannot come out of their homes due to the lockdown, a government vehicle is sent for women who are referred to our one-stop centres to bring them.”

One-stop centres provide support and assistance for women affected by physical, sexual and emotional issues.

For many women, the lockdown has exacerbated their situation as they are forced to stay home with the abusers. 

According to members of women’s rights activists, the government needs to take efforts to publicise the helpline numbers that it has set up.

Abinaya, a member of the women’s group, Manidhi, said, “When we go for field visits, we can see that the women are scared of reporting domestic violence. In many cases, women do not want to bring child abuse cases to light during the lockdown period. This is because the women were able to move out of their homes and make a living before the lockdown, but now, uncertainty looms over their future.”

“The lockdown has curbed the economic independence of the women, which hinders them from making an immediate decision. The women are worried about the period post the lockdown, and are therefore not reporting the violence,” she added. 

Activists opined that the government needs to go beyond providing helpline numbers and provide women with an action plan that protects them now as well as after the lockdown. This plan, they said, should explain measures that the government would take once a woman comes out of her family, including an assurance that she would have a place to stay, they added.

You can find the helpline numbers HERE

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.