Online counseling for women: Most complaints relate to domestic violence | Kochi News

KOCHI: An online counseling service for women in distress launched by the Women and Child Welfare Department (WCD) in the district has seen registrations of women from different sections of society.
Under the Kathorthu scheme, women can seek legal advice, counseling and police assistance by registering their basic details like the contact address on the official website www.kathorthu.wcd.kerala.gov.in .
Officials involved in the project said the focus was on women’s safety. “A panel of specialists including highly trained lawyers, police officers and counselors are part of the project to ensure that women in need of help get it immediately,” said Dr Premna Manoj Shankar, District Officer, WCD.
“We must initiate the first response within 48 hours of receiving the mail. All the complainant has to do is send their contact information and we will get back to them. Based on the complaint, a legal aid advisor or expert will speak to them in a zoom meeting where only the expert, the complainant and one of our staff will be present,” said Arya Dileep, Women’s Protection Officer, Mahila Shakti Kendra who coordinates the project in the neighborhood.
There have been over 150 registrations since the launch of the project. “About 80 have already been addressed. We were unable to follow up on a few complaints because some people did not respond to our calls and due to a lack of foresight. We will continue to follow them. Of the 80 complaints, several of them have been resolved,” she said.
Officials said most of the complaints were about domestic violence – either mental or physical torture, denial of financial freedom while employed, violence due to substance or alcohol abuse, etc
The administrators are also carrying out another project in parallel to raise awareness of dowry-related harassment. The Kanal project focuses on gender awareness. About 30 colleges with more than 7,000 students have participated in the online outreach programs which include discussions about women’s rights and what the law says about them.
As part of the program, each group of 100 to 500 students receives online courses on sex relations and gender and the law led by experienced and specially trained resource persons.