Can’t deny refuge to women, Delhi WCD tells shelter homes


Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The women and child development department (WCD) of the Delhi government has issued directions to all state-run shelter homes or protection centres run by NGOs to provide shelter to distressed women seeking help even during odd hours.

A 27-point advisory-cum-guidelines released on Thursday to respond to distress calls made by women during the Covid pandemic categorically warns that “under no circumstances, admission should be denied” to any women seeking refuge.

If there is no arrangement or space available at the facility, it would be the responsibility of the institution, approached by the woman in need, to ensure accommodation for the help seeker, reads the guidelines.  

“In case the capacity of the shelter home is full, it is the institution’s responsibility to ensure the woman’s accommodation through linkages and coordination with a network of other shelter homes and One-Stop Centers (OSCs). During odd hours, if a woman approaches any of the institutions through the police, NGOs or by herself, it will be institution’s responsibility to accommodate her as immediate relief during the night, until alternative accommodation is ensured the next day,” the advisory issued by Rashmi Singh, director, WCD.

The guidelines also include the standard operating procedure (SoP) for isolating Covid positive inmates and their treatment.

All shelter homes, facilities, including Sakhi-OSCs, 181 helpline providing care and protection to distressed women, have also been directed to carry out proper and regular screening of residents and arrange their RT-PCR periodically.

Sakhi-OCSs, a Central government-sponsored initiative, has been set up in all 11 districts in the city, which aim to ensure safe shelter and facilities for women facing harassment and violence.

Apart from 11 Sakhi-OCSs, there are three government-run and 13 homes being managed by the NGOs, which provide care and protection services to distressed women in Delhi.

The Delhi Commission of Women operates 181 women helpline, which works round the clock to provide assistance and outreach service to women in need.

The guidelines also stress upon vaccination of all caregivers and inmates to prevent the spread of Covid infection.

“In the prevailing situation of Covid pandemic, it is desirable that in all the shelters/ OSCs best medical consultation from qualified doctors is made available in the best interest of women residing in such institutions. It is also necessary that all relevant services under the department are made easily accessible to the women in need of care and protection despite challenges of service delivery in pandemic situations,” reads the SoP.

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