Few women from the city know about this safe haven for women located at Suryabagh. Yo! Vizag talks to ACP Paparao to find out the details.
Reports keep popping up every once in a while about women suffering from domestic abuse and dowry harassment. These reports are mostly about the women who either dared to fight back or have met with fatal consequences. The women that don’t get talked about are the ones covering up bruises with makeup and going about their day like nothing had gone wrong the night before; because ‘it’s a private matter’. However it’s time for them to know that the justice system has a solution in place for these women, a police station specifically for women.
There are 23 police stations in Visakhapatnam district and the Women’s Police Station that was established in 1999 is one of them. What sets it apart from the rest is not just the kind of work they do, but also how they hold jurisdiction over the whole district. ACP Paparao and his team of two SI’s, two Head Constables, 18 women Constables and two male Constables offer solutions to women who come in to report cases of abuse and harassment.
ACP Papa Rao
The few who know about the station approach them directly, coming in even from the rural areas. The others go to police stations under their respective jurisdictions and are referred to the Women’s Station by the officials there. “The Women’s Counselling Centre has existed since years, but it’s only in 1999 that it has been linked up with the police department for the convenience of these women,” says the ACP.
Counsellors from Andhra University’s Department of Social Work come in six days a week to counsel husbands and families of the women who have filed reports. ACP Paparao goes through the reports filed and refers them to counselling sessions as and when needed. In most cases, the matter gets settled through this method and there’s no cause of complaint after. For cases that aren’t settled through three sessions of counselling, an FIR is filed and consecutive action is taken if the woman chooses to do so. “If the woman believes more support is required, they are referred to the Priyadarshini Counselling Centre or City Counselling Centre where they are directed by retired Judges, DSPs, social workers and advocates for further action,” he says.
In 2015, 1600 reports were filed, out of which 200 were converted to FIRs and 2016 saw 1500 petitions convert to 300 FIRs. Rest of the cases were solved through counselling, with few repeat cases coming through. 2017 has already seen 300 reports come in with none turned into FIRs yet. While the Women’s Police Station sees its share of eve teasing and sexual harassment cases too, it is mostly domestic abuse and harassment that they see as the former are usually handled in the juridical police stations themselves.
Address: Police Barracks, Suryabagh
For Help: 0891 – 2562709