SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Social Welfare Department to ensure wide publicity to schemes identified for assisting the victims of domestic violence including women, elderly persons, children and transgenders.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation on its own motion, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal also directed the SWD to make the victims aware of the availability of the assistance.
The direction followed consideration of a report filed by the Principal Secretary SWD, stating that in view of the circumstances prevalent in J&K, Anganwadi Workers are best suited to provide the first place of contact and ‘One Stop Centers’ for providing counselling, legal aid, medical aid and temporary shelters to victims of the domestic violence at all times.
The report states that there are 28000 Anganwadi Workers in J&K with their persons associated with each Panchayati Raj Institutions and Urban Municipal Wards.
Every Anganwadi Center looks after approximately 400-500 households, the report said. These workers are tasked with providing supplementary nutrition and pre-school education to children at Anganwadi Centers, it said.
The Anganwadi Workers carry out surveys of all families, especially mothers and children in their respective area of work and 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,” the report states.
The report also disclosed 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 court was also informed Department of Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction have ordered designation of 10 beds in each district quarantine center exclusively for victims of domestic violence besides additional 5 beds have been reserved for other victims of violence – children, transgender, elderly and persons with disabilities.
Also funds up to Rs.10 lakh per district have been allocated for victims of Domestic Violence while Rs.2 lakh per district out of SDRF have been allocated for victims such as children, transgender and elderly persons.
“It would appear that the respondents (officials) have taken substantial steps to mitigate the sufferings of victims of domestic violence including women, elderly persons, children and transgenders,” the court said
The Social Welfare Department also informed that it examined the efficacy of pharmacies and grocery stores as the first point of contact for victim of domestic violence.
“It was 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 J&K is concerned,” it added. (GNS)