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Consultation in Bhavnagar to collectively work to end violence against women, girls

By Pallavi Sobti Rajpal* 

A District Consultation to end of all forms of Violence against Women and Girls organised by Utthan, Samarthan Makhila Sangathan & Shakti Mahila Sangathan was attended by 11 officials representing key law providing agencies and mandated support mechanisms and resulted in a collective commitment to work more effectively towards sensitive and dignified support to survivors bravely struggling for justice in spite of several odds.
Bhavnagar data with a poor Child Sex ratio of 891 as per Census 2011 and recording a decline of Sex ratio at birth (SRB) from 819 in 2013-15 to 812 in 2017 along with a similar decline in another 9 districts is reflective of the adverse situation of women and girls in the district and the State. Gujarat on the whole saw the highest decline in Sex ratio at Birth in the country, from 911 in 2011 (Census 2011) to 842 (SRS, 2017). Talking about violence against women and girls, nearly 200 women were supported by the Women’s Peace and Justice Committees of Samarthan Mahila Sangathan & Shakti Mahila Sangathan and an approximate 823 women by Government mechanisms in the last six months in their struggle to access justice for violence meted out to them. These numbers do not include the data of women who approached several other State and non-State institutions in the district. With a very low justice seeking statistic amongst women facing violence, this data is only a tip of the iceberg.
Some challenges and consequent recommendations shared at the included:
  • Ensuring availability of vehicles (181) at block level, like in Mahuva block,
  • Need for Gender sensitisation of officials to deal with survivors battling for justice in a more sensitive and respectful manner and
  • Institutionalising such joint consultations amongst all State and non-State mechanisms at regular intervals for integrated response, sharing of challenges and collectively addressing issues.
Following Officials graced the consultation with their presence and allowed a space for discussion. They were positive, understood the gravity of the recommendations and expressed commitment to work together to overcome barriers.
  • Women and Child Development Officer, Bhavnagar, Shri Kishorebhai Katria
  • Assistant Sub Inspector, Ghogha road Police Station, Shri P.J. Bhatt
  • Superintendent, District Legal Services Authority, Shri Rajeshwari Mehta
  • District Child Protection Unit & Protection Officer, Shri Jayshriben Rahwar
  • Nari Adalat District Coordinator, Shri Dhara Bhatt
  • Nari Adalat Taluka Coordinators, Shri Hetalben Rathore, Shri Ramilaben Kokani & Shri Leenaben Rathore
  • Sakhi One Stop Case Worker, Shri Jayashreeben Dodia
  • Police Station Based Support Centre (PBSC), Shri Rinaben Vaghela
  • 181 Counsellor, Shri Pujaben Chudasma
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About Samarthan Mahila Sangathan & Shakti Mahila Sangathan: Community based Women’s Federations based in Bhavnagar with a 6100+ membership working on issues of women’s safety & dignity, resource rights and rightful access to basic entitlements and rights.
About Utthan: Utthan is a registered non-profit organisation working to empower the most vulnerable communities by promoting gender justice, peace, equality and sustainable development in resource poor regions of Gujarat.
Supported by EdelGive Foundation: Set up in 2008, it is the philanthropic arm of the Edelweiss Group. It supports small and mid-sized NGOs across the country, in the areas of Education, Livelihood and Women’s Empowerment with an endeavour to build sustainable institutions and organizations that promote societal growth and innovation.
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*Joint CEO, Utthan

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