Work on social mapping in Mararikkulam South Gram Panchayat in Alappuzha district led to the emergence of a pioneering programme called Crime Mapping. The Panchayat implemented the mapping programme through the Kudumbashree community network as part of their effort to make Mararikkulam a women-friendly Panchayat.
The survey, discussions and crime location spotting held as part of the programme brought out several issues that added to the understanding of atrocities against women and children. For instance, women identified moving buses as ‘unsafe places’ with potential for atrocities against them.
Several stories came up through the exercise; some of them were real eye-openers, such as the story of a woman who had been raped by both her husband and son.
Kudumbashree took up crime mapping on a large scale to understand the landscapes of crime and atrocities against women and children. Atrocities and hot spots of crime were identified and presented to the Boards of the local bodies for resolution.
Crime Mapping exercise had two stages:
- Preparation of a problem chart (Problem Mapping)
- Marking the locations on the map of the local body
A problem table was circulated among women as part of crime mapping. The women were asked to fill up the tables in special NHG meetings. Women were asked to mark the types of atrocities with related information on the table.
- Location of crime
- Nature of the crime
- Intensity of the crime
- Time of incident
- Known details of the crime
- Known details of the culprit
Women were asked to mark their own experiences as well as those shared by others. Wherever needed, facilitators helped the women fill up the charts in special NHG meetings. The filled up charts were to be deposited in crime box provided at the office of the Gram Panchayat.
In crime spotting, participants marked locations of crime on local body maps. Colour coding was used for depicting types of crimes on the maps.
- Spots prone for physical violence were marked in red
- Locations where women faced abusive languages were marked in yellow
- Spots known for criminals showing obscene gestures to women were marked in blue
Gender Resource Persons superimposed the ward maps on local government maps. These maps provided useful information to people and local governments in preventing different types of crimes and atrocities against women and children.
Trained Gender Resource Persons compiled the issues reported on a software and generated tables for analysis and reporting. After assessing the locations of crime, nature and intensity, the information was uploaded on a dedicated software application used for Crime Mapping.
- Various groups were trained in crime mapping:
- Elected representatives
- Officials of various departments
- Members of CDS, ADSs
- ASHA workers
- Anganawadi workers
Convergence meetings were organised at local government level as well as district level to curb various types of atrocities through specific measures:
- Strengthening police beat at crime spots
- Short stay facilities at local bodies (in 24 Gram Panchayats to start with)
- Formation of Child Welfare Committees
- Setting up Snehitha Help Desks
In order to address the atrocities reported through Crime Mapping, an Action Committee has been formed at the local governments. State and district level reports of crime mapping were published on the 16th anniversary of Kudumbashree.
Results started showing in the early phase itself with JagrataSamitis in 74 Gram Panchayats becoming very active.
Snehitha Help Desk
Kudumbashree has initiated six Gender Help Desks to support the women and children in distress.
- Regional help desks in Malappuram, Ernakulam, and Thiruvananthapuram
- Three help desks in border districts – Idukki, Palakkad, and Wayanad
Help desks act as short-stay cum transit facilities for women and children in distress before they can access support and services of institutions and agencies.
Help desks are staffed with two counsellors, five service providers, and two security personnel each.
The help desk idea came up from the GSLP experience; however, the help desks in Malappuram, Ernakulam, and Thiruvananthapuram were set up as part of Kudumbashree’s engagement in Nirbhaya programme.
The help desks in the border districts of Idukki, Palakkad, and Wayanad were set up as part of the anti-human trafficking programme under NRLM.
In addition to their functioning as places for immediate relief and protection to victims of crimes, Snehitha help desks also double up as service centres providing information on ways of rehabilitation and reintegration of victims. Information is provided on institutions and agencies, projects, livelihood programmes, and other support available.
Help desks have also been conceived as facilitation centres to deal with the economic and institutional issues reported through the community network of Kudumbashree. The centres coordinate GSLP and offer directions through Gender Resource Persons. They organise awareness programmes and offer counselling services.
A total of 4186 cases have been registered in the six Snehitha help desks; shelter was provided to 714 women and children as of October 2015.
Gender corners at the CDSs are meant to provide women and children a friendly space to share their grievances and the details of the atrocities that they have faced. Gender corners are local units of Snehitha help desks.
Gender corners were initiated in 2014 with the support of the Child Development Department of Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. The Department trained 320 Community Counsellors for working with Snehitha Help Desks and Gender Corners.
Two Resource Persons and two members of the CDS manage the gender corner at each CDS. Tables, chairs, and complaint box are available at every gender corner. Gender corners have become functional in 943 CDSs and have addressed more than 1000 cases so far. Gender corners work in close collaboration with Jagrata Samitis