KATHMANDU, 10 December 2017 – ‘Khabar Garaun 1145’, a 24-hour toll free helpline, of National Women Commission is coming to an operation from December 10, 2017. The service was inaugurated amidst a function coinciding with the closing of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence (GBV) that falls on December 10.

 

Anyone who faces gender based violence or social discrimination, and those who have been deprived from exercising women’s rights can now register their complaints at his helpline service.

 

This service is backed by an online Case Management System (CMS) with a focus on receiving, registering, and referring calls from individuals in distress. Based on an initial assessment, the calls will be referred to appropriate services including shelter, healthcare, psycho-social counselling, child support, or legal aid. In addition, the online CMS will use technology to register, manage, and track cases referred to service provider institutions.

 

Inaugurating the launch of the Helpline service, Minister for Women Children and Social Welfare Bikram Bahadur Thapa said that the Ministry is expressed hope that this helpline service would facilitate in addressing complaints filed by girls and women who face gender based violence and also lauded NWC’s initiative in this regard. He also expressed the necessity of reaching out to the nook and corners of the country during the 16 days of activism against gender based violence with different events and programs.

 

As per the present provision, victims of GBV have to register their complaints at NWC either verbally or in written and has to be present in person to proceed with the investigations and possible recommendations. However, this latest helpline service would help women in distress to either make a phone call or send sms and can even ask someone else to call on behalf of her, thus making life easier for the victims to come forward and register their cases.

 

The Supreme Court judge, Sapana Pradhan Malla stressed on the significance of the toll-free number as the service which is actually available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. She also expressed that the gender based violence will be reduced in the real sense only with the fulfillment of basic necessities and the feeling of social protection among women.

 

NWC has taken leadership in developing and implementing the Integrated Platform for Gender Based Violence Prevention and Response ‘Sambodhan’ Project under which this Helpline service has been launched. The program is currently being piloted in Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Nuwakot districts. However, NWC will refer the cases to government and other available services in the case of districts apart from these four pilot districts. The project aims to raise awareness about and improve the response to widespread GBV in Nepal, mainly by improving the quality and reach of services for GBV survivors. The project is funded by the World Bank.

 

Member of National Human Rights Commission of Nepal, Mohna Ansari, said that gender based violence is a human rights violation and anybody can be affected, so we all should raise a voice against it. She also stressed that National Human Rights Commission will provide all the necessary supports for the efficient functioning of the newly established Helpline at NWC.

 

Speaking at the event, Takuya Kamata, the World Bank’s Country Manager for Nepal, said that Gender-based violence must be eliminated, as it has devastating consequences on individuals, families, communities and societies and has profound economic and social costs. He lauded the helpline as a positive step towards encouraging women to seek help and an attempt to put an end to violence.

 

GBV is widespread in Nepal, making it 14th among 15 countries with the highest prevalence of intimate partner violence; with one-third of married women reporting to have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence from their spouses. Similarly, the Nepal Health Population Survey conducted in 2016 shows that 66 percent of women do not share their experiences with anyone or seek anyone’s assistance. And, according to a report prepared in 2012 by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, 52 percent women do not report the incidents of violence due to fear of humiliation while 12 percent do so due to fear of society ostracizing her.

 

The launch event was organized amidst a gathering of gender activists, development practitioners, representatives from government and non-governmental agencies, political leaders, GBV survivors, media personnel and the general public.

 

Secretary

National Women Commission