The success story of SHE Teams in three years

Hyderabad: The SHE Teams, Hyderabad City Police was launched on October 24, 2014, with the sole aim to curb sexual harassment in all aspects, in all forms, at all places, and providing safety and security to women in the society. The SHE Teams work in two ways. One is by nabbing culprits red-handed when the members of the SHE Teams move with cameras and record behaviour of the perpetrators in the act before arresting them. The teams ensure a 100% conviction rate by having solid evidence before making a move. The cases are registered Suo Moto when women don’t come forward to register a case. The perpetrator’s families are called as it is seen that shaming the perpetrators has a major impact.

Another way, SHE Teams work through complaints. The Whats App number(9490616555), Mobile application HAWK Eye, various social media platforms, email etc have been provided to the citizens to contact the SHE Teams. They register cases and take action but they do so only after due enquiry to ensure there is no misuse of these laws. They also have a very different approach towards the victims as compared to the previous scenario, the teams ensure that the victims are treated properly and are not further victimised. Every person in SHE team is sensitised well to ensure that victims are treated well.

Since the launch, the teams have worked hard to achieve the aim of the program and achieved great success. Till now, the SHE Teams caught red-handed a total of 1,464 persons while on patrol — Minors-363, Majors-1101, 2536 petty cases were booked, 20 % were jailed, 80% were fined, 950 persons were warned and let off. On receiving complaints from 3,516 victims, they attended to three PD Act cases, three POCSO Act cases, 85 Nirbhaya Act cases (Criminal Law Amendment Act), 56 IPC and IT Act cases, Several cases sent to Police Stations for further necessary action.

The SHE Teams received 1,478 complaints from Dial 100, 336 from Facebook, five from twitter handle, 391 from email, 976 direct complaints, 98 Hawkeye, 333 Whats app complaints. The offenders were Minors-27% , 18-20 years-28% , 21-40 years-44% , 41-55 years-0.7% , >55 years-0.3%. The offences include stalking-32%, Phone harassment-20% , Passing lewd comments-20% , Harassment through social media, sending photos, videos to the mobile phones-18% , Touching inappropriately-3% , Taking photos without the knowledge of the victim-2% , Standing near the public places and public transport in groups, creating nuisance at the girls colleges, hostels etc using 2 wheelers, cars -5%

SHE Teams have also organized several awareness programs educating women on self-defence techniques, cyber crimes etc. Several campaigns have been started to empower women to make them more confident and since the launching of SHE Teams several women have come forward to discuss their ordeal with SHE Teams. The overall reduction in offences against women is around 20%, Extended to all districts and commissionarates of Telangana. SHE Teams concept is replicated in six other States like Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, with different names. SHE Teams concept was introduced in Intermediate Curriculum of Telangana State Board., Thousands of Complaints have been received which have been responded and action taken. There is a drastic reduction of harassment to women in the public places and a deterrence has been created among the boys as there is a sense of fear that the SHE Teams are watching. Recent surveys conducted have shown that, among all the cities in the country, Hyderabad is the safest city to live.

Future plan of action: In the path of providing safety and security to women, to reach the people of all strata and ages, different kinds of posters, banners, pamphlets, movie slides, short films and folk songs are prepared and efforts are on to play them in the cinema theatres and televisions also to convey the safety message to the people. Social media is used effectively to reach out to the people. In addition to taking legal action on perpetrators, She Teams also actively conduct campaigns and workshops for college students. They conduct a lot of awareness activities on eve teasing, sexual harassment and more. The teams also conduct workshops on self-defense, workshops on how to avoid becoming victims of cybercrime and general safety in colleges.

The teams have made people realize that one doesn’t need to be a black belt in Karate or something to be able to defend herself. So they tied up with a self-defence academy and came up with a small booklet of 10 simple techniques that will help a girl get out of a situation. They are now in the process of distributing it to students all over. Taking help of eminent persons from all walks of life like doctors, lawyers, students, housewives, software engineers, business people and so on by forming volunteer groups in order to communicate with the SHE Teams about the women harassment problems faced by them. Involving uneducated, slum dwellers etc to create awareness about SHE Teams and how to approach them. They are also conducting awareness programs to the cab drivers, RTC drivers, lady conductors and so on and tie-up with Motor transport authorities to collect all the cab drivers details to address any kind of harassment while in transport.

Any person can just walk into the SHE Teams office located at HACA Bhavan and register a complaint. Any victim regardless of age can just walk in and file a complaint as there are highly trained people and consider the fact that most of the people who work with SHE Teams are men, great care is taken in sensitizing them and training them. They know how to talk, what to talk and what not to talk. In fact, the SHE Team members are encouraged to talk to women in their own families about their personal experiences of being sexually harassed. This gives these policemen a better understanding of what a woman goes through when she is harassed. (NSS)