Angala – The Crisis Intervention Centre

Our work in Angala revolves around responding to the women who come to us for help and advice on issues related to personal violence. Depending upon the situation some may need immediate help; sometimes medical or the need to be shifted to a safer place. Most of them need emotional support and an assurance that their problem will be solved. Some may need to meet their children immediately. Some may want immediate legal help, for instance restraining the husband from coming to the house if he is very violent. Some may want a job. Few want our help to stop her husband getting married for the second time, some may want to recover their belongings from their husband’s house.

What we do

In all these situations there are various levels of our involvement and intervention.

- First is the hours of listening, counseling and talking we have to do with the woman at an individual level - which helps us to understand the situation not only from her point of view, but also to clarify what kind of steps we would need to take to resolve her problem.

- The next step is to talk to her family to assess the extent of their support to her and strengthen the same followed by talking to the husband, and his family if necessary, to see what they have to stay.

- If the matter cannot be resolved at the level of the individuals and families involved, then we approach the local community structure, be it the village or local elders, the panchayat, the local parish or the Jamaait to see if with their intervention and help, the problem can be 
resolved.

- If nothing is possible then as the last option we may seek police help or judicial intervention. For once the matter reaches the judiciary we have seen how the long delays and corruption in the systems have prolonged the misery that the woman has to go through.

The follow up to each case, apart from the counseling and direct intervention is equally intensive and therefore takes a long time. This usually involves getting jobs for the women, finding admission for the child/children in homes where the mother is not able to look after them, visiting them in their houses after a compromise is achieved , providing medical treatment, involve these women in other meetings, awareness / sharing programmes, finding shelter etc.

Who comes

The women who come are from all communities and classes, rural and urban - for personal violence is an issue that really does cut across all barriers. What we have found however is that women from the upper classes usually have the economic security and independence to stand on their own feet even if they do not have the freedom to take decisions independently. Urban middle class and lower middle class women can count on very little social support - for urban life is so fragmented and alienating, whereas poorer women or women from the slums and rural areas have greater social and community support structures that can be mobilised to protect them from violent husbands.

The woman comes, sometimes alone and sometimes with her parents, relatives or friends. In some instances a friend or neighbour comes to us saying that the woman is unable to come out of the house or a violent situation on her own and needs our intervention to bring her out.

At any given point of time we are responding to about 400-450 women and families who approach us to help them. The nuances of the violence and harassment each woman goes through in her personal and domestic life are specific to her situation - so we cannot offer standardised formulae for conflict resolution - either through counseling, direct action or legal help. The women and families who approach us are largely from in and around the city of Bangalore. We also have cases referred to us from other parts of the state and country.

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