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Most complaints of domestic violence at 1091 helpline in Bengaluru

The monthly complaints from April to December 2022 range between 114 and 156
Last Updated : 26 January 2023, 02:19 IST

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Over a hundred women in Bengaluru have been reaching out every month to the Parihar-Vanitha Sahayavani (1091) counselling centre supported by the Bengaluru city police.

The monthly complaints from April to December 2022 range between 114 and 156. The only exception was November, with 89 cases.

Across all months, the majority of cases are accounted by domestic violence, either physical or mental. Out of 1,113 cases overall between April and December, 39 per cent (434 cases) were in this category.

This is followed by incompatibility or harassment by the spouse/in-laws — 29.5 per cent (329 cases). The third major category is the spouse’s extramarital relationships, accounting for 12 per cent.

The pattern was similar in 2021-22, too. Physical/mental domestic violence accounted for 42 per cent of the 1,403 total cases that year. Cases of incompatibility/harassment and extramarital affairs came to 26.5 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.

Cases of physical abuse could be severe at times, including acid attacks and assault leading to permanent disability, says Rani Shetty, who is in charge of the centre. In 2021-22, of all the cases disposed of, 21.5 per cent were referred to the police. These include cases where the other party didn’t respond to the counselling centre.

Police cases are not booked in all cases of physical abuse since many women prefer reconciliation owing to their financial constraints or lack of social support. Many of the police cases also end with reconciliation between the two parties, says Dr S D Sharanappa, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), who is associated with the centre.

A small proportion of women — nearly 3 per cent in 2021-22 — are sent to shelter homes where they get counselling, vocational training, etc.

Of the complaints, drug/alcohol abuse by the spouse is also a major category, accounting for around 10 cases per month.

Dowry cases coming to the centre are relatively low, accounting for 5 per cent or less of the total. Other categories include premarital issues (including harassment by own parents), issues with live-in relationships, and cheating/finance/cybercrime, all of which account for relatively few cases.

“A positive aspect is that 60-70 per cent of cases coming to the centre are reconciled, leading to the preservation of the marriage,” says Dr Sharanappa. In 2021-22, 38 per cent of the cases were reconciled or financially settled. Some cases are also referred to the legal aid board for divorce, maintenance and custody cases. A small proportion is sent to psychiatrists for therapy.

The total cases coming to the centre have nearly halved now, compared to the sharp spike during the Covid lockdowns in 2020-21. However, Shetty believes cases are not reducing in the city. “We get fewer cases now because they are scattered across the city, with people going to other counsellors. During Covid, many of them were shut,” she says.

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Published 23 January 2023, 17:18 IST

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