Crime against Women on the rise in the City
GUWAHATI: Crime against women in the city is on the rise. Latest data available with 181 Women Helpline, Assam also revealed new types of crimes being meted out to women in the recent times.
Until now, as many as 720 cases have been registered across Assam with the helpline, since its inception in March. Out of the total cases registered, 173 cases are from Guwahati city.
Officials in the helpline informed that 77 domestic violence cases have attributed as the highest among all the cases registered and 18 cases are registered against other than the existing categories:
Crime against Women: Table for Guwahati City
Newer forms of crimes
While existing crimes against women are on the rise, newer forms of crimes cannot be negated.
181 Women Helpline Manager, Nilakshi Sarmah, told G- Plus that cases related to property dispute and cyber-crime are slowly making their foothold in the city.
“Widows and girl child in families often face the brunt of property disputes. When it comes to property, women have to face the maximum as these problems are mostly followed by crime. We have got some cases where other members of the family don’t feel the necessity to share the property with the girl child,” Sarmah revealed.
While it is evident that minor girls often fall prey to cyber-crime due to lake of awareness, working women, too, falling prey to such crimes is a major concern.
“Women themselves have to be careful to prevent cyber-related crime. It is seen that due to carelessness, partners exchange private photos, videos and share social media accesses.
It then leads to blackmailing and a crime to follow after that. It is our appeal to women to not fall prey to such intimacy, because those who really share a pure intimacy would not prefer exchanging photos, videos etc. Police has to come up with newer technologies to prevent cyber-crimes. The Assam Police Cyberdome has big role to play in future,” she said.
Officials in the helpline regard social media platforms as bane to relationships that ultimately takes the shape of a crime related to domestic violence.
“In a certain case, a 50-year-old woman caught her husband flirting with girls much younger than his age. Initially, the incident mentally harassed the lady and later the husband resorted to physical assault on her,” an official said.
Challenges of the Helpline
Officials of the helpline however complained of lazy attitude of police in its intervention of women- related cases. Officials called for better coordination with police.
“If some events like Ambubachi Mela are organized in the city, the whole police force is engaged for security reasons. No help from police comes to fore if emergency situations arise during such events,” an official said.
As far as legal aid is concerned, the officials of Women Helpline take help of the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA). Free legal aid is offered by DLSA to Women Helpline to dispose such cases. “A free legal aid is equivalent to none. They are not very keen on fighting the cases aggressively. A free legal aid is of no help to a victim if the opposition comes up with a private lawyer. In such cases, justice delivered to a victim is a matter of serious concern. If it goes on like this, there would be no trust upon the Women Helpline system,” a source in the Social Welfare Department said.
“We have urged upon lawyers who believe in activism. Lawyers who believe in justice can come forward to help victims on voluntary basis. There should be provisions to file an FIR via email.Presently a person has to appear physically to file an FIR, as he has to sign the FIR. But in some cases, victims don’t remain in a state to come physically to file an FIR. FIR’s filed via email is the need of the hour,” Nilakshi Sarmah said.
Unlike other women helplines, 181 women helpline prefers long term follow up of cases until their disposal.
‘Eye-Watch’ App to mitigate women- related crime
The Social welfare Department and the 181 women helpline will soon launch an application – ‘Eye- Watch’ to help women fight against crimes in times of emergency. The GPS-enabled app is said to be path-breaking in addressing crimes against women.
“An individual in times of emergency simply has to shake the smart phone. Location of the victim can be traced via GPS in the phone. The information then would automatically help police and others to trace the victim. The app will soon be available in Google Play Store. The app is on its final stages and is going through some changes. I hope women will download this app along with shopping apps as it would be equally beneficial to them,” Sarmah said.