ASHA’s founding program, the Crisis Intervention Cell, was developed in response to a need for support services for women seeking help at the local Police Station in Pune. Following the June 1994 passing of new legislation to protect women from violence, reports of wife-beating, dowry deaths, and harassment increased greatly. Unfortunately, both society and the system did not yet recognize the seriousness and consequences of this harassment. As such, the majority of these casese were disposed of by police as simple private family disputes. Made aware of this issue through their work with women in the Pune slums, ASHA took the initiative to contact the Pune Police and request an in-station office.
The objective of this office is to offer immediate assistance to women in domestic violence situations. Assistance included problem solving, counseling, referrals to other services (e.g. medical, psychiatric, education, shelter services, etc.), legal guidance, and registering of criminal complaints when necessary. The Cell is staffed by a team of training social workers who screen, evaluate, and compelte follow-up on each case.
ASHA was a natural choice for the great responsibility of the Crisis Intervention Cell. Since its inception in 1993, ASHA has maintained itself as apolitical in nature and has no affiliation to any religiuos groups. Further, the organization does not engage in or seek out media attention, therefore protecting all effected parties.
The Cell operates six days a week from 9:30am to 5:30pm and is located at the Vishrambaug Police Station in Pune.