CHENNAI: In a little over nine months, the Nirbhaya Specialised Counselling and Support Centre for Women has been able to resolve over 200 cases. As per available data, over 62% of the cases handled at the centre functioning at the City Police Commissionerate in Vepery is related to family dispute and 31% is related to domestic violence. The survivors reach the centre via Child Welfare Committee, Women Helpline, All Women Police Stations, and the Social Welfare Department. They can also reach the centre directly.
Women who are survivors of abuse, domestic violence, and dowry harassment can walk in for counselling. However, minor girls, who are victims of abuse, get a home visit from the counsellors. Art therapy is widely used to address child abuse survivors. A minor girl, a survivor, initially drew images of people’s backs. The counsellors recognised that she was afraid and lacked trust. After periodical follow-ups, the girl started drawing people facing her.
There was one case where a couple had problems with their three children. The frequent disputes and rigid religious beliefs had made the children rebellious and unsocial. “We are able to understand the trauma of each child; they are connected with past events. At the end of several follow-up sessions, the children were able to reconcile with their parents,” said a staff member, who added they are in touch with the parents.
Another woman, a survivor of domestic violence, wrote a thank-you letter to the staff. In the letter she said, “When I came here I was gripped with fear and anxiety. However, the counsellors guided me and treated me with love and respect. This helped me get clarity and I feel rejuvenated.”
“The response has been encouraging. Now, we are planning to appoint more counsellors, who would go on field visits and document the work. We are also planning to engage interns, who would be assigned specific tasks,” said city police commissioner Shankar Jiwal.
He further said, earlier many people did not come forward, but in recent times, the cases being reported in the stations and being referred to the counselling centre has increased.Joint Commissioner of Police, Headquarters, B Shamoondeswari said, “The objective of the centre is to provide services like crisis intervention, deal with problems within the family, workplace or in the community. The centre will also conduct an independent inquiry in dowry death cases, and provide counselling in family maladjustment, and try for reconciliation in cases of separation. Most of the cases referred for counselling has ended in success.”
People in distress can call the centre on 044-23452436