Kerala’s gender violence management initiative boosts activity

With the Kerala Government factoring in  domestic  peace and harmony as a vital component of  its public health and family welfare policies, the state’s Gender Based Violence Management Centre (GBVMC), also known as Bhoomika,  has boosted its  Information, Education and Communication (IEC) programme to reach out to women during  the COVID-19 lockdown period.

The services of dedicated counselors and support team can be accessed by those who need to address their grievances and  look for assistance by calling the helpline number 1056 of Disha (Direct Intervention for Health Awareness), a senior Bhoomika official said.

“We have as many as 21 counselors working in all districts across the state.Those who require the service can contact the counselors through the helpline in all confidence”, said Smt Seena K M, Senior Consultant (Social Development).

An initiative of the State Health Department, GBVMC has been providing medical and psychological care to victims of gender-based violence and social abuses.  Under the project,  financed by the state’s plan fund and supported by NHM, one GBVM unit functions in district and general hospitals and major taluk hospitals  across the state, managed by a female coordinator/ counselor.

The objectives of the programme include providing social and psychological support to women, sensitising hospital staff on gender issues, training them to identify victims of violence and networking with organisations concerned for mutual support and sharing.  

Apart from providing counseling service, the programme  also extends legal aid and other follow-up supports in necessary cases. “This is a converged programme. We also do the follow-up with the help of legal  authorities , police and  agencies like Women and Child Council”, Smt Seena said.

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