Milestone

Jaipur Crisis Centre Leads Way For India
28 July 2017
Manu Shrivastava, Jaipur

It is a matter of sheer pride for Jaipur, flayed for years for its patriarchal mien and attitude towards women, to lead the way for the rest of India. Krishna Raj, Union Minister of State, Ministry of Women and Child Development had recently visited the capital of Rajasthan to examine how a ‘One Stop Crisis Management Centre for Women’ – OSCMCW worked and how the victims were rehabilitated. For the first time in history, the government at the Centre was looking to study and replicate the Jaipur model in states across India.

Aparajita: One Stop Crisis Management Centre for Women’ – OSCMCW (Top and Below)

If change had to occur in the position of women in India, it would have to begin with Rajasthan. For, beyond the glitter of royalty and heritage in Rajasthan, prized for tourism, for generations, lay the ugly truth of female infanticide, dowry, domestic violence, familial abuse, rape and a host of crimes against women by a society, which is as rigid as obtusely patriarchal.

The deplorable Nirbhaya incident that occurred in December 2012 led the Centre directing all States, to address violence against women in all forms and evolve a mechanism where a victim of abuse or violence could procure ‘all services’ under one roof and be called a ‘Rape Crisis Centre’ or a ‘Nirbhaya Centre’. Rajasthan, in a distinct display of sensitivity and governmental enterprise, rose to the occasion. It created its own model and launched the ‘One Stop Crisis Management Centre for Women’ - OSCMCW ‘Aparajita’ in Jaipuria Hospital, Jaipur in August 2013, a first of its kind in India. This was a good four years back.

Immediately after taking office, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced myriad schemes in the direction of empowering women, ensuring safety of women, preventing sexual crimes, providing equal opportunities in workplace, ensuring a girl child remained safe and many more. “The Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre and State support initiatives that help in women empowerment and uplift. Special programmes and initiatives are being undertaken and incentives given to women to bring them at par in society; make them the decision-makers of the family and educate them to empower them,” told BJP Mahila Morcha (Rajasthan) President Madhu Sharma to DraftCraft.

Today, the One Stop Crisis Management Centre for Women at Jaipur has become the cynosure of all eyes leading the way for the rest of India. The Centre has grown to become one of its kind and a role model for the entire nation. Recently, Union Minister of State, Women and Child Development (WCD) Krishna Raj arrived to Jaipur accompanied with State WCD Minister Anita Bhadel and State WCD Principal Secretary Roli Singh for an inspection and left very impressed with the work. She announced that on the lines of the successful Aparajita Centre in Jaipur, 150 more such Centres would be installed across India out of which 15 would come up in Rajasthan.

Union Minister of State, Women and Child Development (WCD) Krishna Raj talking to the media.
Seen alongside is  Rajasthan WCD Minister Anita Bhadel
The Jaipur Centre is presently running successfully as a self-sustaining model. The upcoming 150 Centres will either be located inside a hospital or within a two-km radius of a medical facility. As it is still considered taboo for a woman in need to approach a police station, it is more feasible for her to reach out to a hospital that’s open round the clock. Rajasthan Government has also signed an MoU with UN Women for an impact assessment study to analyse its effectiveness and success.

“It was following the phenomenal success of this facility that the State government directed all bureaucrats to pay a mandatory visit. The aim being to sensitise the bureaucracy to include a gender component in their schedule of work,” said an exuberant State Coordinator, Directorate of Women Empowerment, Jaipur and Nodal Officer, Aparajita Dr Jagdish Prasad. “Aparajita is a one-stop centre that provides women victims of abuse, all the facilities and assistance required under ‘one roof’. Right from medical assistance, police assistance, legal aid/counselling, psychosocial support/counseling and shelter are provided to the victim,” told Dr Prasad to DraftCraft.

“In all, there are five entities involved with the Centre. In the first instance, a Hospital provides medical assistance, particularly to victims suffering from violence, abuse and trauma. Secondly, the Police provide protection and initiate appropriate action through four police personnel on duty at all the time. An NGO provides counselors for counseling of the victims and their families. The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment provides shelter homes to victims. Lastly, the Judiciary offers legal assistance through the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority in High Court, which has allotted a panel of advocates to this Centre. All services are provided free of cost to every woman or girl that approaches them.

“The Aparajita Model is a brilliant move on the part of the State government and it should be expanded across the nation,” feels Rajasthan State Commission for Women Chairperson Suman Sharma. The most important reason for the success of the Centre, she rightly noted, is that the victim has a place to stay temporarily if she has nowhere else to go. “Shelter is a big problem in most cases of crime against women, which is successfully resolved by Aparajita as it provides temporary shelter as well. Quite often, the Commission falls short of space for interim shelter till a case is further inquired, in which case Aparajita comes into use,” she told DraftCraft.

Shree Shyam Sewa Samiti’s Leena Sharma who is responsible for psychosocial counseling and day-to-day administration at Aparajita revealed the Centre had registered “many success stories”. “In one case, a minor girl had approached the Centre as her parents were attempting to get her married forcibly while she wanted to study further. The team at the Centre including the counselors and the Police counseled and convinced her parents to dissuade them from marrying her off and assisted the girl to pursue her dreams,” she told DraftCraft. “I am proud of being associated with Aparajita and feel the working process should be adopted in other Centres as well,” offered Leena.

While Aparajita’s success is heartwarming, it’s a step, albeit a small one, towards Women Welfare. The key to change remains changing human mindset. Almost all authorities and departments concur that this is a long-drawn battle and there is a huge need to increase awareness and sensitise people towards women rights.

Aparajita Helpline: 0141-2553763/4

THE WOMAN SURVIVOR VIEW: There is an urgent need to change perception among police personnel, media and legal authorities who have to be empowered with the latest in law, policy to ensure justice and penal action, even against a perpetrator family member. Often, sex-offenders and violent felons use the tradition line even hide behind the sanctity of family relationships to avoid exposure. In India, a public registry of offenders, like a child sex offender registry in the UK, could help deter and detect crime.