The Ministry of Women and Child Development is merging two women’s helplines, which were launched to help distressed women seeking counseling or help in case of emergency such as medical aid and the filing of an FIR. Ministry officials said the move was intended to facilitate the complaints process.
The merger, from the backend, means that a woman who wants to file an FIR can call either of the two lines and can receive help. Women who are not looking to file a complaint can also call either line.
“We plan to merge all of the ministry’s various departments’ helplines for all women’s and children’s issues into one number eventually, similar to the 911 helpline in the United States,” the official said. WCD secretary, Indevar Pandey, on the sidelines of an event hosted by the ministry last week.
The merger includes the 112 hotline, launched last year as part of the emergency response assistance system modeled on the US 911 system’s emergency response. Along with 112, plaintiffs can request emergency response services from police (100), fire (101), health (108) and women (1090).
The helpline was launched in February 2019 by (then) Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and users can access the services through the 112 India app or through their phone’s panic buttons to log into the number. The helpline can also be accessed by pressing the start button three times on smartphones and on other phones after a long press of 5 or 9. The helpline, operated by the MHA as well as the WCD Ministries , is funded by the Nirbhaya Fund.
The other number, 181, is a helpline for women and children seeking non-emergency help such as advice. Women seeking help and advice in cases of domestic violence and other forms of abuse are dealt with 24 hours a day by this helpline. The helpline is connected to one-stop crisis centers so that women seeking help can be directed there.
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