Punjab Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) launched a report on the performance of the operations of Punjab Women Helpline from August 2014 to May 2017.
The Punjab Women Helpline was established in August of 2014 under the Punjab Women Empowerment package-2012. It is a toll-free service that works 24/7 efficiently.
The chairperson of PCSW, Fauzia Viqar, in the launch ceremony that held at Directorate General of Public Relations, apprised about the progress of helpline that it not only helped women to register their complaints against violation of their rights and domestic abuse but also provided an avenue to women for reporting any passivity by state institutions and biased policies and practices.
It helped the Government to improve its institutions and proven helpline a landmark in empowering women. The statistics stated by Fauzia Viqar showed the enormous progress and success of Punjab Women Helpline initiative.
Statistics of inquiries
According to the chairperson, about 53212 inquiries received and addressed successfully on time. The highest number of inquiries were received from Lahore and Faisalabad; with 12,823 inquiries from Lahore and 1,858 from Faisalabad. Also, 1740 inquiries were received from out of Punjab, indicating that helpline initiative is not limited to Punjab only.
Statistics of complaints
Fauzia Viqar while apprising about complaints stated that about 841 complaints were registered through a helpline, out of which 230 were related to criminal offenses. About 58 percent complaints are successfully closed and 36 percent are in the process of being sorted out.
The closed complaints included the successful resolutions, a compromise between parties and withdrawal of complaints. The launched report also describe the method of receiving and registering the complaints.
Fauzia Viqar appreciated the efforts of PCSW legal experts and helpline’s administration.
“The helpline initiative proved to be successful towards empowering women and has a potential to be a role model for the other provinces,” Fauzia Viqar lauded the efforts of helpline service.
Helpline service in KPK
It is not the first time that helpline service has been introduced in any province. Before it, the Awami National Party (ANP) had also established the helpline service for women’s safety in KPK but it stopped working after the project ended as it was not a toll-free service.
But now, recently, Government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has launched a toll-free women’s helpline service in KPK to prevent violence against women and help them in all emergency situations. It would be a challenge for KPK Women’s Helpline to maintain consistency and efficiency in its working.
It was also highlighted in the ceremony that about 330,036 awareness calls were made by helpline. But only awareness calls are not enough to aware women about their rights and helpline.
Still, there are many women in Punjab and whole Pakistan, who are victims of domestic abuse but are unaware of the helpline service. Therefore, proper advertisement of helpline should be done via print and electronic media so that every woman could get benefit from the helpline service.
However, the tireless endeavors of helpline managers and call operators helped Punjab Government to empower and protect women in the best way possible.