Maharashtra and IJM launch guidebook on domestic violence during lockdown for women and children

Pranita Roy
Sunday, 24 May 2020

"Women reservations alone, will not achieve the overall progress of women in society, but they should be given their rights and dignity. A positive change in mentality will prevent domestic violence against women and the younger generation needs to be taught moral values through education,” - Adv Yashomati Thakur, women and child development minister

Pune: Maharashtra State Women's Commission (MSWC) and the International Justice Mission (IJM) have launched a guidebook on 'Domestic Violence in the Lockdown: Confrontation and Safety' via video conference on Friday.

“Women reservations alone, will not achieve the overall progress of women in society, but they should be given their rights and dignity. A positive change in mentality will prevent domestic violence against women and the younger generation needs to be taught moral values through education,” said the women and child development minister Adv Yashomati Thakur who inaugurated the guidebook.

The virtual launch was attended by State women's commission member secretary Astha Luthra, special inspector general of police for prevention of violence against women and children, Pratap Dighavkar, retired justice Roshan Dalvi, IJM director Melissa Walavalkar, Trupti Panchal of Tata Social Organization, commission’s officials, staff and representatives of social organisations.

Thakur highlighted that along with the violence against women, their mental health should also be addressed. She further suggested that the guidebook should be publicised widely through social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter etc.

IJM director Walavalkar pointed out that during times like lockdown women and children are more vulnerable to violence. “This book is an effort to tell them they aren’t fighting alone against the abuse,” she said. 

Dighavkar pointed out that while the number of crime against women is low during the lockdown period, it may increase in the coming days due to the recession. 

 "There are chances that in coming times when we will hit a recession, several job losses, violence against women can increase,” he said. 

He also gave information about police initiatives like Bharosa cell, Dakshata cell for women.

Luthra informed that several women have been reaching out to the MSCW through the helpline numbers and emails. After the complaints are registered by the commission, these distressed women are counselled and sought police help as well.

About the book
The book Domestic Violence in the Lockdown: Confrontation and Safety available in two languages - Marathi and English. It will be made available to women across the State with the help of various social service organisations who will circulate these booklets via WhatsApp, email etc. 

It is also available on the MSCW website.

What does the guide provide?
It provides tips on safety measures, daily mental and physical health, childcare, guidance on tackling violence, a list of one-stop centres in the State, women and child development cell addresses, important contacts, helpline numbers, emails, etc.

The guidebook consists of coping responses like breathing and grounding exercises, body and mind care techniques, expressing yourself etc. It suggests connecting with others. 

Make safety plans-- safety while living with an abusive partner, safety planning with children, during pregnancy and emotional safety plan.

It also connects states with health services or helplines. Further, for children who experience domestic violence at their home, it has been suggested to talk about it with the counsellor, have a safe house to go to, doing things that keep one happy etc. 

The commission has also underlined that ‘The most important message to give children during this time is to tell them-- it isn’t your fault that this happened.’

The guidebook further consists of a five-day well-being plan for the lockdown.

Reaching out for help

  • Send a complaint through post/ email or in-person to the MSCW.
  • Call the helpline number- +91-7477722424
  • One can also register on the ‘Tejaswini’ mobile app.

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