Inmates Tortured, No HIV Treatment in Shelter Homes: Report
The NCW-led inquiry committee inspected 5 Swadhar Greh in West Bengal, 8 in Odisha, 8 in Karnataka and 5 in UP.
Physical torture of inmates in West bengal, no medical aid for an HIV patient in Odisha and no treatment for mentally-challenged women in Uttar Pradesh were some of the key findings by the women's commission during inspections of shelter homes in these states.
The inquiry committee appointed by the National Commission for Women (NCW) inspected five Swadhar Greh in West Bengal, eight in Odisha, eight in Karnataka and five in Uttar Pradesh.
These rehabilitation centres were either Centre-funded or NGO-run short-stay homes for sexually abused and the destitute.
In Uttar Pradesh, mentally-challenged inmates were found living at these homes but there was no sign of any treatment for them, "who were rolling on the floor at the time of inspection.”
In West Bengal, the inmates complained that they were subjected to physical torture by the counsellor 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 an HIV patient and the NGO is not providing any medication to her. "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 suffering from depression and no sign of vocational training to the inmates, were among the key findings. One Swadar Greh in Karnataka 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 Swadhar Greh existing in the address and only the board of the organisation was placed and the room was locked.”
Women's commission Chairperson Rekha Sharma proposed introduction of a system like uploading the up-to-date data of inmates on the website of the 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 counsellors in the Swadhar Greh with Masters in Social Work or Sociology qualification cannot give any psychological counselling to the inmates, which is very much essential as most of the inmates will be in the condition of distress and anxiety. "Hence counsellors with the qualification of clinical psychology have to be appointed as counsellors," 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 old age home," she added.
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