Victims of abusive and threat phone calls are the ones who use the Women Helpline ‘1091’ more, as they don't wish to step into a police station to lodge complaints, fearing family members.
The 24-hour helpline, manned by three women cops of the Chennai City Police, receives at least 150 calls a day. Many complain of vulgar or abusive calls from strangers or threat calls from ex-lovers at night.
Other calls include marital and domestic issues, seeking general information and strangely, some blank and wrong calls. The helpline has received as many as 43,055 calls this year, they said.
Policewomen on the helpline say working women, mostly in their 20s and 30s, call them up claiming that they had been receiving abusive calls from strangers, sometimes continuously from different numbers, and seek help. These victims are either professionals working in big companies or small private enterprises, police say.
Simple tips like not picking up calls from unknown numbers are offered to them over phone, but if their problems persist, they would be advised to lodge a written complaint in the nearest police station.
Then there are those who call the helpline in the middle of the night, claiming their ex-lovers were torturing them over phone to meet them. Some even claim that their ex-lovers were blackmailing them with photographs taken together.
A few callers seek advice on reuniting with their husbands, while some ring up in the heat of the moment complaining that their mother-in-law or husband was harassing them, sometimes for dowry.
In such cases, both the caller and the person accused, are counselled over phone. There are also a few callers, who complain of troublesome neighbours and lack of water supply or electricity, and ask for general information like emergency contact numbers. “We get some blank and wrong calls too. Some would have tried the helplines in other districts while some apologise saying their kids dialled the number by mistake,” police said.
The helpline personnel said that in most cases, the issues are solved over phone, as the callers do not wish to take the issue to the police or want a policeman knocking on their doors. But there were about 420 calls that were treated as 'severe' ones so far this year and the information was passed on to the respective police stations for further action, they added.