India’s First One-Stop Crisis Centre

16th June 2014, New Delhi: “I was alone in my battle against the continuous sexual violence that I had been facing, but now I think this one stop crisis centre will become a support system for me and other women like me to access help,” shared Madhu (name changed) who was present at Samanvay Bhavan in Bhopal at the launch of the campaign ‘Gauravi’ by government of Madhya Pradesh. “Unable to cope with the situation I even attempted suicide, but NGO workers helped me to fight and seek justice and now the case is in the court,” she added. 

This programme was organised by ActionAid India and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare jointly.

The programme held ahead of the launch the same day, saw participation by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan who had given fillip to this issue through his popular show Satyamev Jayate, Executive Director, ActionAid India, Sandeep Chachra, 300 Asha workers (health workers) and hundreds of women from across the country. 

Aamir Khan praised Madhu and several other women like Madhu who shared their testimonies of survival from various forms of gender based violence and their long struggles against them and presented them with mementos. Aamir Khan who has been seen wearing ActionAid India’s campaign badge “BETI ZINDABAD” at various interviews and forums also said that “For the nation to progress we need to invest in our girls and women from the very beginning.” 

Svati Bhatkal, Co-Director, Satyamev Jayate, who was also present at the programme shared “Being witness to this remarkable event, we truly feel we’re progressing towards our goal.” “If the One Stop Crisis Centre works properly, it could become the centre of the entire struggle against Violence against women,” she added. 

ActionAid India’s Executive Director, Sandeep Chachra shared “ActionAid India is a proud partner of the government of Madhya Pradesh in opening this One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) as recommended by the Justice Usha Mehra Commission set up in the aftermath of the 16th Dec 2012 gang rape in New Delhi. We must also commend the important role that media, especially shows such as Satyamev Jayate can play in changing mindsets and also influence policy making.” “This is not a question of women and girls’ safety and security alone but it is an important factor that weaves the socio and economic fabric of the nation. If the survivor and her family are able to access all support and processes to seek justice under one roof, then this centre will achieve what it has set as its goal,” he added.                              

Sehjo Singh, Programme and Policy Director of ActionAid India also at the launch raised an important question “which are the women who face most violence in India today? Those from the Dalit community, scheduled castes and tribes, and other such most marginalised communities.” “The media highlights a few shocking cases, but there are thousands that do not even reach the police. For those women whose voices rarely reach those in administration and in the government this one stop crisis centre is like a ray of hope,” she added. 

“The Centre is a joint collaboration between the Health and Family Welfare department of Madhya Pradesh Government and ActionAid India. The MP government through the initiative which they are calling GAURAVI- the campaign for women’s dignity and protection has promised to reach women and girls across all 50 districts of Madhya Pradesh soon,” shared Ms. Sarika Sinha, Regional Manager, MP, ActionAid India. “We are training all the women who will be positioned in the OSCC in the capacity of counsellors and we are building their capacities and sensitivities in dealing with such issues,” “for the success of these centres it is important to ensure that all the facilitators involved must be well coordinated,” she added. 

The first of its kind initiative from the government came after many consultations involving government officials, medical practitioners and activists and members of civil society. The popular show Satyamev Jayate conceptualised and hosted by by Bollywood actor Aamir Khan also raised the problems faced by survivors of rape and the need to implement the suggestions by the Justice Mehra Committee. The show also highlighted ActionAid India’s work on the issue and a study which debunked many myths related to women’s clothing and attitude and established that rape is also about power.

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