Physical Torture, No Treatment for HIV Patient: Women’s Commission Report on Shelter Homes


Team Udayavani, Dec 17, 2018, 3:46 PM IST

New Delhi: Physical torture of inmates in West Bengal, no medical aid for HIV patients in Odisha and no treatment for the intellectually disabled women in Uttar Pradesh were some of the key findings of a report by the National Commission for Women on the state of shelter homes in the three states.The inquiry committee appointed by the National Commission for Women inspected five Swadhar Grehs (shelter homes) in West Bengal, eight in Odisha, eight in Karnataka and five in Uttar Pradesh.

Out of the 26 Swadhar Grehs, only one is running as per the guidelines of the scheme, according to the report submitted to the NCW by the inspection committee. These rehabilitation centres were either funded by the Centre or are NGO-run short-stay homes for sexually abused and destitute people. In Uttar Pradesh, intellectually disabled inmates were found living at these homes but there was no sign of any treatment for them. At the time of the inspection they were found “rolling on the floor”.

In West Bengal, the inmates complained that they are subjected to physical torture by the counselor of the Swadhar Greh. “Seven of the inmates are mentally challenged women and the Swadhar Greh is like a congested prison. The building, kitchen and rooms are dirty and unhygienic,” the report on the condition of the shelter home in West Bengal said.

In Odisha, one inmate with a child, a trafficking case, complained to the committee that she is a HIV patient and the NGO is not providing her with medication. “Though, she wants to go back to her parents, she was forced to stay back in the Greh by the NGO,” the report said. In Karnataka, no psychological counselling was made available to inmates in depression and vocational training is not given to the inmates. One Swadar Greh in the state just existed on paper.

“As per the address of the location of the Swadhar Greh given by the state government in the authenticated list, the Committee went to inspect the Swadhar Greh located in a posh locality of Bangalore city. But surprisingly there is no existing Swadhar Greh in the address and only the board of the organization was placed and the room was locked,” the report said.

The Women’s Commission Chairperson Rekha Sharma proposed a system which would include the up-to-date information of inmates on the website of Women and Child Development Department.
She also suggested mandatory inspections by district monitoring committees every three months and submitting of reports to the government. She suggested that counselors in the Swadhar Greh with Masters in Social Work or Sociology qualification cannot give any psychological counseling to the inmates, which is an essential requirement for most of the inmates who suffer from distress and anxiety. “Hence counselors with the qualification of clinical psychology have to be appointed as counselors,” she said.

“Mentally challenged women have to be sent to the mental rehabilitation centre for better care. Old women who are above 60 years have to be sent to an old age home,” she added.

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