THRISSUR: Sneha (name changed) was desperate and beset with suicidal thoughts when she registered on the website of ‘Kathorthu’, an initiative launched by the Women and Child Development Department to help women address their problems through counselling sessions online.
As soon as she registered, Sneha— who is separated from her husband—received a message of confirmation which promised all support. Within 48 hours, she could open up to a counsellor. After separation, she had fallen in love with a man two years younger than her. But, as time went by, he started exploiting her financially and eventually ignoring her.
“I didn’t know what to do and all I could think of was suicide,” were the words Sneha told the counsellor. Through regular sessions, the team could bring her back to life. They even provided advice to file a complaint against the man who exploited her.
This is just one among the hundreds of cases ‘Kathorthu’ dealt with after its launch in February 2021. The programme provides counselling, legal support, and police aid to women in distress, with the main advantage being that the complainant can communicate from their home itself.
The department has formed a panel of recognised counsellors, police officers and lawyers through the legal services authority for this purpose. As soon as a complaint is registered, the district coordinators communicate with the complainant and arrange an online sitting with the counsellor.
As per the data provided by the Kathorthu state coordinator, 967 cases were registered through the website until March 31, 2022. Among these, 527 complainants were provided with counselling, 105 received police aid, and 335 got legal support.
“Though there are people who still don’t have access to internet, the youth has benefited immensely. Many teenagers call us to share their problems,” said the Thrissur district coordinator. Women suffering from postpartumdepression had also registered to open up their problems. In applications registered in connection with dowry issues, the cases were forwarded to the dowry prohibition officer.