Crisis Intervention Cell

Over the past 28 years, ASHA (Action for Self-Reliance, Hope, and Awareness) has served as a core service provider, working as a nonprofit, non-governmental organization dedicated to the upliftment and empowerment of underprivileged women and those affected by domestic violence. Established in 1993, ASHA has consistently aimed to support these women through comprehensive, client-centered approaches.

When ASHA was founded in 1993 in Pune, Maharashtra, the founders brought not only their domain expertise but also a humanistic, client-centered, and non-directive philosophical orientation. We are a group of professionals deeply engaged in our respective fields, unified by our commitment to service.

We believe empowerment is an internal process, contrary to the popular misconception of merely gaining power. For us, empowerment involves the effective and assertive exercise of universal human rights. However, a state of vulnerability during a crisis can lead to feelings of powerlessness and confusion, justifying the need for external intervention. Our interventions aim to restore women's sense of agency rather than creating dependency and victimization.

With this view, ASHA established the Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Cell in 1996 at a centrally located police station in Pune. We aim to help women within the legal framework, maintaining clear boundaries between our organization's role and that of the police. Our work is non-hostile and non-confrontational.

The objective of the Domestic Violence Crisis Intervention Cell is to address violence and abuse in personal relationships, promote safety, mitigate conflicts, and facilitate fair resolutions within the mandate of crisis intervention services. Our framework emphasizes human rights and prioritizes personal safety.

Each year, ASHA registers approximately 250 cases. Our clients are often referred by previous clients, acquaintances, police stations, advocates, family court counselors, doctors, and more. Initially, most clients were women from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with minimal education and resources. However, in recent years, men and women from all socioeconomic strata and educational backgrounds have sought assistance from ASHA, often learning about us online.

Social workers at the Crisis Intervention Cell provide services to clients experiencing domestic violence. These services include crisis intervention, advocacy, referrals, information, support, and practical assistance, with a priority on those subjected to violence.

The Crisis Intervention Cell operates under the supervision of trained social workers, psychiatrists, and lawyers from Monday to Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Social workers offer need-based interventions after an initial assessment and may involve police intervention if necessary. During crises, social workers provide specific and focused interventions, offering relief and assurance to mitigate the client's vulnerability and enable them to progress to the next phase of coping.

Individuals in toxic relationships often face emotional, mental, or psychological issues such as stress, depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and decision-making difficulties. ASHA offers psychiatric support every Thursday to help clients address these issues.

Sometimes, clients are uncertain about their relationship decisions and seek guidance on their options. ASHA provides legal guidance and assistance every Saturday. All services provided by ASHA are free of cost.

Extramural Training Program

ASHA is actively involved in multiple levels of awareness and sensitization activities focusing on gender issues, legal literacy for women, and safety and security concerns. These objectives are achieved through extramural training programs targeting various groups, including NGOs, community members, corporate sector women employees, adolescent girls in schools and colleges, police personnel, and construction site laborers.

In the past eight years, ASHA has conducted numerous training sessions, benefiting thousands of individuals across different sectors. Topics covered include domestic violence, eve teasing, sexual harassment at the workplace, listening and communication skills, women’s health, child sexual abuse, child marriage, child nutrition, health, and environmental hygiene.

Beneficiaries List

Sakhi Helpline

Since 2009, ASHA has operated a helpline called "Sakhi," providing telephonic counseling services to clients unable to visit in person. The helpline has seen a rise in calls, especially during the 2020 lockdown, with inquiries from Maharashtra and across India, including West Bengal, Telangana, and Uttar Pradesh. The helpline number is +91 9421016006.

Helpline Calls (2016-2020):

Year Marital calls Other than marital calls Total number of calls
New Follow up New Followup
2016 129 4 43 4 180
2017 283 22 109 2 416
2018 390 27 130 5 552
2019 542 35 198 2 777
2020 608 76 231 6 921
2021 336 90 143 43 612
2022 170 36 71 11 288
2023 281 11 66 1 359
Total 2,639 301 991 74 4005

Project Pankhi

In collaboration with Tribhovandas Bhimji Javeri (TBZ) for their CSR project on Domestic Violence, ASHA launched Project Pankhi in October 2019. Pankhi helpline provides counseling services to women facing domestic violence across various Indian cities, including Ahmedabad, Surat, Baroda, Mumbai, Delhi, Kochi, Noida, and Bihar, in association with local NGOs. ASHA is responsible for raising awareness about Pankhi in Pune. Through partnerships with NGOs such as CASP, Deepgruha, Family Planning Association, Snehdeep, Hope for Children Foundation, and Pragati Foundation, ASHA reached 1,778 people through 41 awareness programs in 2019 and 2020.

Online and Physical Awareness Programs

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, ASHA transitioned to conducting both physical and online awareness programs (webinars). In 2020, ASHA reached IT companies in Pune and NGOs outside Pune, including Andhashradha Nirmulan Samiti in Mumbai, Palghar, Thane, and companies like Forbes Marshall, VMware, Tech Mahindra, Cognizant, Nitor Infotech, Vinsys IT Company, and Norton LifeLock. A total of 23 webinars were conducted, reaching 1,136 people.

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