THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Some relief for a city reeling under the shock of two family suicides. The Police Department has established a counselling centre at the police headquarters. The Family Crime Prevention Counselling Centre was inaugurated by DGP K S Balasubramanian on Thursday.
ADGP (South Zone) K Padmakumar, IG (Thiruvananthapuram range) Manoj Abraham, City Commissioner H Venkatesh and DCP (Law and Order) Ajeetha Begum were present at the function.
Through the counselling centre, the police hope to address an extensive range of issues that plague society. After inaugurating the centre, the DGP said, “There are a wide range of issues that can be addressed through this counselling centre. For example, the problem of loan sharks has a psychological aspect to it. The rising number of family suicides is another issue, which can be tackled through counselling.”
In view of the escalating number of suicides, Balasubramian said that apart from the psychologist working at the centre, the police are planning to appoint a psychiatrist as well.
The idea of employing counselling to mitigate crime is not new to the police. The precursor to this counselling centre was the Vanitha Souhruda Kendram. Attached to the Women’s Cell, the Kendram was started to provide counselling services to wronged women. But it began to increasingly deal with family disputes.
Eighteen years since its establishment, the police realised that women were not the only ones who needed counsel.
It had to reach out to the children caught between the squabble and also hold dialogues with erring parties.
In some cases, men turned out to be the victims. The Kendram had to extend its umbrella to include the larger unit of family.
Women’s Cell Circle Inspector Latha L says that on an average, the Cell deals with over ten family disputes daily. Apart from these, the women’s helpline receives over 30 calls daily, a good number of which would be domestic violence cases.
Lekshmi Bhaskar, associated with Vanitha Souhruda Kendram for 18 years, will be the senior counsellor at Family Crime Prevention Counselling Centre. An employee of the Social Welfare Board, she said that the project is part of the Nirbhaya Kerala project of the Social Justice Department. At present, the counselling services are available three days a week.