The Sakhi – one-stop centre started by the central government’s Women and Child Welfare Ministry with an objective to provide medical, legal help, counselling and shelter if needed has proved a boon for women. A total of 267 women and girls got shelter through this project which was started in Nashik in 2017.
The victims of physical, mental, sexual harassment, domestic violence, acid attack or cybercrime have to take help of police, lawyers and counsellor, however, they have no mentality to visit them and seek their help. A free medical facility, help of police, counselling and legal aid are being made available free of charge for such women or girls under one roof through Sakhi – one-stop centre. Besides this, there will be a facility of temporary shelter for five days minimum as per requirement.
Following the Nirbhaya case, the central government had announced project Sakhi for protection of women and girls. A separate Nirbhaya fund had been formed for this. A total of 12 districts in Maharashtra have been included in this project which is being implemented on an experimental basis in some parts of the country since 2015.
The Union Women and Child Welfare Minister last year approved to implement the project in the entire state. The building of the project is situated in the campus of social welfare ministry opposite Nasiklub. After the start of the project, help had been made available to around 267 women and girls. This is the only building in the state and was thrown open into service of people in December. Arrangement of stay for five victims at a time can be made there. If a victim will stay for more period, she is shifted to a government hostel for women.
A monitoring committee has been appointed for each district under the District Collector. Superintendent of police, deputy commissioner of police, secretary of district justice and legal aids authority, president of the bar council, district civil surgeon, deputy chief executive officer (Gram Panchayat) of Zilla Parishad and three non-government persons are included in this committee. District Women and child officer is designated secretary of the committee. The meeting of the committee is held every three months and review of the work is taken.
Besides this women and child welfare department is creating awareness through information about projects at conventions by women self-help groups and Asha and Anganwadi workers. In future, the publicity of the project will be made through Dakshata Samities at school, college and police station level, informed district safety officer Ashok Pawar and centre manager, Kavita Thakur.
The girl victim below 18 years of age and girl child is admitted to Sakhi centre after coordination with officials appointed under Juvenile Justice Act and The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and organisations. Besides this, the centre has been connected with helpline 181 and another helpline. The victim can send any time in 24 hours to the one-stop centre through this. Employees are available there full time. For this government has appointed centre manager, retired police officer, health officer, legal advisor, counsellor, security guard and peon.
– Surekha Patil, women and child welfare officer, Nashik