Many women who experience gender-based violence may never seek any formal help because they do not feel safe or confident that they will receive help if they try.A public-private-academic partnership in Gujarat, India, established a toll-free telephone helpline - called 181 Abhayam - for women experiencing gender-based violence. The partnership used existing emergency response service infrastructure to link women to phone counselling, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and government programmes.In India, the lifetime prevalence of gender-based violence is 37.2%, but less than 1% of women will ever seek help beyond their family or friends. Before implementation of the helpline, there were no toll-free helplines or centralized coordinating systems for government programmes, NGOs and emergency response services.In February 2014, the helpline was launched across Gujarat. In the first 10 months, the helpline assisted 9767 individuals, of which 8654 identified themselves as women. Of all calls, 79% (7694) required an intervention by phone or in person on the day they called and 43% (4190) of calls were by or for women experiencing violence.Despite previous data that showed women experiencing gender-based violence rarely sought help from formal sources, women in Gujarat did use the helpline for concerns across the spectrum of gender-based violence. However, for evaluating the impact of the helpline, the operational definitions of concern categories need to be further clarified. The initial triage system for incoming calls was advantageous for handling high call volumes, but may have contributed to dropped calls.
View details for DOI 10.2471/BLT.15.163741
View details for PubMedID 27147769