DB for wide publicity to schemes for assistance of domestic violence victims

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 13: Division Bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal today directed the Department of Social Welfare to ensure that wide publicity is given to schemes identified for assisting the victims of domestic violence including women, elderly persons, child abuse and transgenders.
When the PIL came-up for hearing, Division Bench observed, “a report dated 12th May 2020 has been filed by the Principal Secretary to the Government (Social Welfare Department), Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been considered. The Social Welfare Department has examined the matter and has concluded that keeping in view the circumstances prevalent in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Anganwadi Workers are best suited to provide the first place of contact and ‘One Stop Centers’ for providing counselling, legal aid, medical aid, temporary shelters and Helpline 181 are ideal for tackling the menace of domestic violence at all times”.
“The report discloses that there are 28000 Anganwadi Workers in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with their persons associated with each Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Municipal Wards. Every Anganwadi Center looks after approximately 400-500 households. These workers are tasked with providing supplementary nutrition and pre-school education to children at Anganwadi Centers”, the DB observed.
The Anganwadi Workers carry out surveys of all families, especially mothers and children in their respective area of work; make home visits in discharge of their duties and maintain liaison with other institutions including Mahila Mandals. All these would assist in mitigating all issues arising out of violence situations.
“It is informed that One Stop Centers are being developed in accordance with the guidelines issued by Ministry of Women and Child Development. As per these guidelines, first line workers such as Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA) are involved for furthering the cause of women in distress. The Social Welfare Department discloses that there are about 11987 such workers functional at the ground level and manifest a diverse network of interaction with women in the communities of their area of work”, the DB further observed.
The DB said, “it would appear that the respondents have taken substantial steps to mitigate the sufferings of victims of domestic violence including women, elderly persons, children and transgenders”, adding “the Social Welfare Department has examined the efficacy of pharmacies and grocery stores as the first point of contact for victim of domestic violence and have found that these businesses form part of the unorganized economic sector and their approachability and viability as the first point of contact is gravely doubtful so far as Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is concerned”.
In the report submitted by the Member Secretary, JKSLSA, report regarding litigation in 20 districts has been submitted. In many cases, orders of maintenance appear to have been passed, but the complainants have not received payments of maintenance on account of lockdown.
“The maintenance would have been awarded so as to enable the complainants to meet their essential needs and deserves to be regularly made available. Efforts should be made by the District Legal Services Authorities to ascertain the welfare of the persons who had sought maintenance and those granted may be in need of assistance”, the DB directed.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services Authority was further directed to continue to assist all needy people in terms of the several programs being pursued by it.

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