Non-functional and ill-equipped: One stop centres yet to be effective


Karnataka only has 30 functional one stop centres so far for domestic violence victims to report complaints.

Facilities in one stop centres for domestic violence victims continue to be limited despite guidelines provided by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

None of the centres are working in Karnataka, said Nandini, regional manager at Action Aid Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). “There is no doctor, counselor or lawyer present at the center in Victoria Hospital,” she said. People who have to report such violence will not even know where the help desk is, she added.

The Ministry for Women and Child Development implemented the scheme of one stop centers in 2015 to support women who are affected by violence. It aims to provide medical and legal aid, counseling services and other temporary support services to women affected by violence. However, only 234 of such centres are functional in the country, according to data provided by the ministry.

Guidelines for the scheme also mention that 50 additional centres must be set up in the second phase of the project during 2017-20. However, Karnataka only has 30 approved centres so far, said Soumya, the administrator for these centres in Bangalore Urban.

Such centres are supposed to provide immediate rescue to domestic violence victims by helping them with medical assistance, legal aid and with lodging the First Information Report (FIR), said Meenu Padha, a lawyer. “However, these centres are not as effective as they should be,” she added. The shelters need to be set up in accessible areas so that women can reach them easily, she said.

Additionally, the Domestic Violence Act also mandates that states should appoint Protection Officers for every district that are meant to help women in distress by providing them with resources and information.

However, research states that several of these positions remain vacant across the country. Additionally, research also shows that access to these shelter homes became difficult during the pandemic as they required Covid-19 tests from specific government hospitals. Groups such as “We the Women of India” have filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking adequate infrastructure in shelter homes.