Under the newly approved Mission Shakti, Swadhar Greh for women in difficult circumstances and Ujjawala Homes for Prevention of Trafficking have been merged and renamed as Shakti Sadan which is an Integrated Relief and Rehabilitation Home for women in distress situations and difficult circumstances. In Jammu and Kashmir, there are two Swadhar Greh for women but no Ujjawala Homes yet.
Also, the Ministry of Women and Child Development implements the component of One Stop Centre, under which integrated services such as medical aid, psycho-social counseling, police facilitation, Legal aid and counseling etc. provided under one roof to the needy and distressed women. The Ministry of Women and Child Development through National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) has also provided basic and advanced training under the project named ‘Stree Manoraksha’ to the staff of One Stop Centres (OSCs) across the country on handling psycho-social and mental health care needs to support the women facing violence and women in distress, the government informed the Parliament on Wednesday last.
While efforts by the government are noteworthy, domestic violence remains a real phenomenon. It is widespread, deeply ingrained and has serious impacts on women’s health and well-being, experts have been saying it all the way. It is a very specific crime with multiple aspects, including emotional and mental torture, withholding of finances, etc. For many women, leaving home is the only recourse to escape from an insufferable existence. At the same time, they do not always have other family members willing to take them in. For a woman in such a situation, the availability of shelter homes can only help as she has nowhere to go.
Some believe that one of the main reasons why women put up with daily abuse and violence is that there is no other place for them to go where they can take shelter. The parents of the victim often force them to live with the perpetrator regardless of the kind and level of abuse that a victim is going through.
In other words, the women victims of domestic violence choose to suffer and bear the agony, violence and harassment rather than reporting it.
In absence of shelter, the victims of violence are made to live with their abuser. This not only affects the physical, mental and emotional well-being of a woman, but leaves an equal impact on the psyche and sensibilities of the children living in an abusive environment. The government must ensure all support to the woman in distress.