Help Resources for India Victims & Survivors of Domestic Abuse - Rape - Sexual Assault – Sexual Harassment
Rape and Sexual Assault in India:
It is your choice about what you do next, but this information may help you in coming to a decision. The most important thing is to make sure that you are as safe as you can be. You can:
Contact the emergency police number across India on 100
Lack of Victim Support Services in India:
India does not provide any government support services where women, men, and children can report sexual or other forms of violence against them and seek support to make decisions about whether to file criminal complaints, and cope with its ramifications. Many women are afraid to report rape because they fear they will not be believed, not just by the police but also by their family members. Often, women face the stigma as much at home as outside. Especially in cases of child sexual abuse, where the abuser is often a family member, it is extremely difficult for children to report the abuse in the absence of strong support.
Four examples from Human Rights Watch’s research highlight the critical need for support services before and after victims file criminal complaints to the police. Rashi, 40, from Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh state, said she was raped by a neighbor in her village. She told her husband and they decided to report it to the police. But Rashi told Human Rights Watch that for months after that, she was shamed and blamed at home and in her village:
Kajal, 23, from Neemuch in Madhya Pradesh, said that her husband left her, and the villagers drove her and her parents out of the village after she was gang-raped and filed a police complaint:
Sadhana, 28, was three months pregnant when she was raped in a village in Bharatpur, Rajasthan state. She said that many in her village accused her of maintaining illicit relations with a so-called healer whom she accused of raping her:
“Rape victims don’t really come here,” a woman counsellor from the non-governmental organisation tasked with running the one stop centre in Jaipur said. “They go to the hospital that is connected to the police station where they registered a FIR [First Information Report].”
The one stop centre in Jaipur, named Aparajita, is supposed to be a place where integrated services – police assistance, legal aid, and medical and counseling services – are made available to female victims of violence. These centres were prioritised under the Nirbhaya Fund set up by the central government in 2013, after the public protests following the gang rape and murder of a young woman in New Delhi in 2012, and long-held demands by women’s rights groups.
If they were properly functioning, these centres could fill a critical need for support services for survivors of rape and other forms of violence against women and girls in India. They can also serve as an educational resource for healthcare workers, police, lawyers, and judges.
But in cases of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, Human Rights Watch’s investigation into 21 cases found that women and girls currently struggle, both before and after filing criminal complaints, to access medical help, legal aid, and psychosocial counseling.
‘A failed project’
The Aparajita centre was set up in 2013 as one of the pilot projects before the One Stop Centre Scheme was developed by the central government through the Nirbhaya Fund. However, currently, this centre is doing little to provide integrated services to women survivors of rape and sexual assault because the criminal justice system has yet to consolidate procedures for victim assistance. “If a rape victim comes here, we help her to file the FIR in the related police station,” the counsellor said. “But for her medical exam, she has to go to the related hospital because a magistrate will only accept that.”
A doctor at Jaipuria hospital, where the centre is situated, was scathing about the inconvenient bureaucratic requirements. “It’s a failed project,” he said. “The concept was that police investigations, medical, and legal help, all would be provided in one place. But if the victim has to go back to the police station which has the territorial jurisdiction, what’s the point of the one stop crisis centre?” He said the centre was mostly being used to resolve marital disputes.
Lack of trained counsellors, little access to legal aid, and a failure to link these centres with helplines reduces their effectiveness – and ultimately does not serve victims. There is little public awareness regarding the centers, too. “Walk-in patients in our one stop centers are very few. Not much awareness. [Survivors] are mostly brought by police,” said Puneeta Mahajan, medical superintendent at the Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in Delhi, which also operates a one stop centre under the Delhi government scheme.
Break the Silence Survivor Helpline – speak to a survivor sister, Monday-Saturday between 9:00 am – 6:00 pm PT, 1-855-BTS-1777.
Childhelp – is a leading national nonprofit dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect. Childhelp’s approach focuses on prevention, intervention and treatment. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD, operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and receives calls from throughout the United States, Canada, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Guam. Childhelp’s programs and services also include residential treatment services (villages); children’s advocate centers; therapeutic foster care; group homes; child abuse prevention, education and training; and the National Day of Hope, part of National Child Abuse Prevention Month every April. Several of Childhelp’s programs were firsts, and continue to be studied by professionals worldwide as “models that work”.
Crisis Text Line – serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support and information via the medium people already use and trust: text. Here’s how it works: 1) text START to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime, about any type of crisis; 2) a live, trained Crisis Counselor receives the text and responds quickly; and 3) the volunteer Crisis Counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment, New York, NY.
Desi lgbtQ Helpline ~ 908-FOR-DEQH – a support helpline for South Asian lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals, launching on Coming Out Day, October 11th, 2012! We offer free, confidential, culturally sensitive peer support, information and resources by telephone for LGBTQ South Asian individuals, families and friends around the globe.
Disaster Distress Helpline – is the first national hotline dedicated to providing year-round disaster crisis counseling. This toll-free, multilingual, crisis support service is available 24/7 via telephone (1-800-985-5990) and SMS (text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746) to residents in the U.S. and its territories who are experiencing emotional distress related to natural or man-made disasters. Callers and texters are connected to trained and caring professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the network. Helpline staff provides counseling and support, including information on common stress reactions and healthy coping, as well as referrals to local disaster-related resources for follow-up care and support.
DoD Safe Helpline ~ 877-995-5247 – a groundbreaking crisis support service for members of the DoD community affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline provides live, one-on-one support and information to the worldwide DoD community. The service is confidential, anonymous, secure and available worldwide, 24/7 by click, call or text ~ providing victims with the help they need anytime, anywhere. Download free app.
LGBT National Help Center ~ 1-888-843-4564 (national hotline) and 1-800-246-PRIDE (national youth talkline) – we offer several different programs including two national hotlines that help members of our community talk about the important issues that they are facing in their lives. We help end the isolation that many people feel, by providing a safe environment on the phone or via the internet to discuss issues that people can’t talk about everywhere else. The GLBT National Help Center also helps other organizations build the infrastructure they need to provide strong support to our community at the local level. Read Blog.
National Dating Abuse Helpline ~ 1-866-331-9474 –a national, 24-hour resource specifically designed for teens and young adults. Accessible by phone or internet. The Helpline offers real-time, one-on-one support from peer advocates. We train these young leaders to offer support, information and advocacy to those involved in dating abuse relationships as well as concerned friends, parents, teachers, clergy, law enforcement and service providers.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline – operating around the clock, seven days a week, confidential and free of cost, NDVH provides lifesaving tools and immediate support to enable victims to find safety and live lives free of abuse. Callers to the hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) / 1- 800-787-3224 (TTY) can expect highly trained experienced advocates to offer compassionate support, crisis intervention information and referral services in over 170 languages. Visitors to this site can find information about domestic violence, safety planning, local resources and ways to support the organization. Review current and former Impact Reports.
National Human Trafficking Hotline – call 1-888-373-7888 or text BeFree (233733). NHTH is a national, toll-free hotline available to answer calls from anywhere in the country, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year in more than 200 languages. The NHTH is operated by Polaris, a non-profit, non-governmental organization working exclusively on the issue of human trafficking. We are not a government entity, law enforcement or an immigration authority, Washington, DC.
National Indian Country Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault Helpline (scroll down) – a free service for Indian Country professionals wanting help with their most challenging law enforcement, advocacy, healthcare and legal issues. Call 1-855-464-2272, Monday through Friday, 8 am – 4 pm PT.
National Runaway Safeline – the mission is to help keep America’s runaway, homeless and at-risk youth safe and off the streets. NRS’ 1-800-RUNAWAY (1-800-786-2929) crisis hotline is available 24-hours a day throughout the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam, Chicago, IL.
National Sexual Assault Hotline – RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE. This nationwide partnership of more than 1,100 local rape treatment hotlines provides victims of sexual assault with free, confidential services around the clock. In 2007, RAINN expanded its hotline services with the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, the nation’s first secure web-based hotline that provides live and completely confidential help to victims through an interface as intuitive as instant messaging.
Review Bilingual Online Services Launch Outreach Guide (English and Español), 2015.
National Street Harassment Hotline – a 24-hour, toll-free hotline (855-897-5910) anyone in the USA can call for support, help and advice about street harassment. People will be able to find emotional support, get advice for how to deal with harassers, learn what their legal rights are, and more. The service is available 24/7, in English or Spanish. On August 10, an online option (through secure IM) will be available via www.StopStreetHarassment.org. Stop Street Harassment is partnering with Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and Defend Yourself to launch the hotline. Read news release.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the call is routed to the nearest crisis center in our national network of more than 150 crisis centers. The Lifeline’s national network of local crisis centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals day and night.
StrongHearts Native Helpline – speak with an advocate at no cost by calling 1-844-7NATIVE (1-844-762-8483) Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. CST when you are ready to reach out. The StrongHearts Native Helpline is a culturally-appropriate, confidential service for Native Americans affected by domestic violence and dating violence. Read news release announcing the Helpline’s launch.
The Trevor Project – founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people ages 13-24. If you’re thinking about suicide, you deserve immediate help – please call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-488-7386. TrevorText and TrevorChat are also available, West Hollywood, CA.
VictimConnect – a new national hotline from The National Center for Victims of Crime, VictimConnect, provides help for victims of any crime nationwide, and can be reached by phone at 1-855-4VICTIM (1-855-484-2846) or by online chat. This hotline has Spanish-language capacity. The chat service is open between the hours of 10am and 6pm ET, Monday through Friday. The telephone service is available between 9am and 6pm ET, Monday through Friday and is FREE. The VictimConnect Resource Center is a place for crime victims to learn about their rights and options confidentially and compassionately. Web-based information and service referrals are also available. Read news release announcing launch of VictimConnect.