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Call to reopen centers for women in crisis

PESHAWAR: Community members and women who worked with Benazir Bhutto Centres for Women since 2005 have called upon the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to reconsider its decision of shutting down these centres in the province.

They said that while Punjab government was strengthening such centres it inherited from federal government under 18th amendment the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had closed down its four crisis centres since June 12, 2012.

Swat Unity Network headed a delegation of women who had been working in these centres on contract basis in Swat, Kohat, Abbottabad and Peshawar and held a press conference in Peshawar Press Club on Tuesday.

Khan Saeed, the network’s coordinator, told reporters that such centres were still needed in places like Swat where women were faced with social and legal problems. Women victims of domestic violence needed such centres run by government since they were easily accessible.

He said that the four centres had 40 staff, including social workers and legal advisers, who provided free services to victims of violence. The centres helped around 5,300 women who came for shelter or legal help, Mr Saeed claimed.

Noreen Nargis, who worked at the crisis centre in Kohat, said that it provided shelter and legal and medical aid to women. The closure would affect the women since the centre was located at a place where not even a shelter home or Daarul Aman was present.
“Where would the victims of domestic violence go for help now since illiterate women have no easy access to police stations or courts,” Ms Nargis asked and added that closure of centres had also rendered the workers jobless.


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