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January 12, 2020

Crisis centre for women without a lawyer

Lahore

January 12, 2020

LAHORE : The Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Human Rights Crisis Centre for Women in Lahore is not providing the essential service of on-spot legal guidance and advice to women victims of violence due to absence of a lawyer who has been transferred to the Directorate General of Social Welfare to assist on administrative matters of the department.

This clearly shows poor understanding of the department regarding the Crisis Centre’s objectives and service delivery to the public.

The smooth functioning of the centre which provides totally free-of-cost services to women victims of violence have been badly hampered due to massive transfers/postings of the staff of the centre in the tenure of the previous Social Welfare Department DG.

The centre is working without law officer, office assistant and driver for the past many months. They are getting salaries from the Crisis Centre for Women budget but serving in the Directorate General of Social Welfare according the orders of the former DG.

Women who come to the centre to seek help have to come thrice, sometimes many more times in the absence of a lawyer.

Rani Bibi (case 2416) who comes to the crisis centre said, “I want to file a case in court to claim maintenance for my children but despite several visits to the centre I couldn’t get through to the lawyer.

I cannot afford to come here again and again as fares are high.

Also, it is difficult to get out of home, leaving the children behind. It is important to have a full-time lawyer here who is accessible to the women like me.

There are many women like me who have to go back this way.” She has appealed to the authorities to address her issue.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Human Rights Crisis Centre for Women was established in Lahore in March 2005 with the nomenclature Crisis Centre for Women in Distress.

The centre works to provide protection and dignity to survivors of violence while ensuring confidentiality and independent decision making without any discrimination.

Since March 2005, the centre has benefitted 11,857 women in various categories of violence.

The centre is open to the public for complaints against all forms of violence.

Any woman can walk-in or call for information and avail services for herself or her family.