A Life-Saving Helpline for Nepali Women During COVID

December 9, 2020 | Donor Direct Action

Puspa Poudel

Puspa Poudel, legal officer for the Forum for Women, Law and Development, counsels a client over the phone from her office in Kathmandu, Nepal.Photo: UN Women/Uma Bista

22 year-old Gagana from Khajura was severely physically and verbally abused by her husband. On Sept 1, 2020 he came home drunk at 11:00pm and threatened to kill Gagana by forcing her fingers into an electric socket because she had not opened the door fast enough. The following day Gagana’s mother-in-law held both her hands and her husband hit her on the head. They also injured Gagana’s brother by punching him and hitting him with a stick.

Gagana decided to leave her marital home and contacted FWLD’s Legal Helpline for domestic violence survivors.

Suffering physical and metal trauma from the incident Gagana decided to leave her marital home on September 2, 2020 and contacted FWLD’s Legal Helpline for domestic violence survivors. An FWLD lawyer drafted a complaint application and accompanied Gagana to the Women, Children and Senior Service Center of Police Office in Banke District. The lawyer also accompanied Gagana for a medical exam at a one-stop crisis center. A summons was served to Gagana’s husband asking him to be present at the Women’s Cell within the police station. FWLD continues to pursue Gagana’s case with the police and courts.

Like most other countries, Nepal has seen a rise in domestic violence assaults during the lockdown. FWLD staff members have operated their legal helpline through the pandemic and have helped nearly 50 gender-based violence survivors with potentially life-saving assistance in Sept-Oct 2020.

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