If you are a victim of domestic violence, there are a number of helplines available in Bengaluru, to report your case. One of them is being run by the Bangalore City Police (BCP), called Vanitha Sahaya Vani. Their helpline number was set up in 1999 to help "women in distress", across class, creed and communities.

The BCP website says the helpline is operational between 8 am and 8 pm.

An abused woman
Who is or has been living in a shared household

An abuser could be
Male - Live-in partner, Relatives of husband
Any adult male with whom she shares a domestic relationship

The abuse could be

Vanitha Sahaya Vani is the brainchild of Parihar, a city-based NGO, supported by the police. They work independent of the Department of Women and Child Development but are recognised by the department as a service provider and  find a mention on their website.

While their four-digit number 1091 is temporarily not functioning (see box below) their other numbers 22943225, 25233650 and 22872364 continue to work. The Family Counselling Centre, also run by Parihar, helps in resolving issues, details of which are available here

For more details, see the website of the Department of Women and Child Development.

You can also contact the following organisations:

Department of Women and Child Development, Karnataka
Bangalore Urban
Next to Kidwai Hospital, Hosur Road,
Bangalore - 29
Ph: (080) 26578688

Bangalore Rural
Near CYCD, Opposite Petrol Bank,
Okalipuram, Bangalore.
Ph: (080) 23483181

Mahila Dakshatha Samiti
66/A, Godhahalli, Sanjay Nagar, 2nd Stage,
Raj Mahal Vilas Extension,
Ph No. 23410042

For a detailed list of helplines, read Citizen Matters' article Helplines and support for women

The Family Counselling Centre run by Parihar in Shivajinagar. Pic: Deepa Ranganathan.

Apart from contacting the above registered service providers, one can also contact the protection officers of the state department. The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 provides for appointment of Protection Officers and Service Providers by state governments to assist the aggrieved person with respect to medical examination, legal aid, safe shelter and other assistance for accessing her rights.

These special appointees file a Domestic Incident Report (DIR) and forward the case to the Magistrate Court for disposal.

Who are protection officers?

These are officers who are under the jurisdiction and control of the Magistrate court (located on Nrupatunga Road) and have specific duties in situations of domestic violence. They provide assistance to the court in preparing the petition filed in the magistrate's office, also called a Domestic Incident Report. It is their duty to provide necessary information to the aggrieved person and to ensure compliance with the orders for monetary relief.

Who are service providers?

For the past few months, the 1091 helpline number of Vanitha Sahaya Vani has not been functioning. Volunteers at the office say this problem has existed since January 2010..

"We have complained to the BSNL office millions of times but to no avail. There has been no response from them to repair the number", says Hema Deshpande, coordinator, Vanita Sahaya Vani.

Hema says she has been personally coordinating with employees of BSNL, but no action has been taken yet to fix the problem.

These refer to organisations and institutions working for women's rights, which are recognised under the Companies Act or the Societies Registration Act. They must be registered with the state government to record the Domestic Incident Report and to help the aggrieved person in medical examination. It is their duty to approach and advise the aggrieved person of her rights under the law and assist her in initiating the required legal proceedings or taking appropriate protective measures to remedy the situation. The law protects them for all actions done in good faith and no legal proceedings can be initiated against them for the proper exercise of their powers under the Act.

Source: Aarogya.com

The Quarterly Progress Report of the Department of Women and Child Development, Bangalore Urban District states that four female and three male protection officers were appointed between April and June 2010. The number of protection officers and/or service providers is not fixed and varies from place to place, depending on the population of each district.