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The Role Of Policies In Addressing Gender-based Violence: An Overview

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The Role of Policies in Addressing Gender-based Violence

The inaugural session of the ‘Ending Gender-Based Violence’ was organized by the Gender Impact Studies Centre, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi on March 5th, 2024. 

The session highlights the role of policies in addressing gender-based violence, drawing on insights shared by Advocate Flavia Agnes, a women’s rights lawyer and co-founder of the Mist Legal Center in Mumbai. Advocate Agnes provided a comprehensive overview of various legal reforms and campaigns within the women’s movement, particularly focusing on anti-rape movements, domestic violence laws, and the protection of children against sexual violence.

Legal Reforms and Challenges in Combating Gender-Based Violence

She commenced her presentation by delving into the historical context of the women’s movement, shedding light on the continuous struggles despite legal advancements. She emphasized the issue of rape, citing recent cases and the insufficiency of legal deterrents. Moreover, highlighting France’s landmark constitutional recognition of the right to abortion as a pivotal achievement for reproductive rights.

Moving on to specific legal reforms, Advocate Agnes discussed the anti-rape movement originating in the 1980s, ignited by the Matura rape case. Despite legislative amendments, low conviction rates persist due to biases within the judiciary system. She stressed the necessity of legal support for victims, especially children, applauding the significant impact of the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act in ensuring child-friendly procedures.

Additionally, the speaker addressed domestic violence laws, noting the transition from criminal to civil remedies with the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 2005. She emphasized safeguarding women’s rights within the matrimonial home and the pivotal role of protection officers in facilitating legal recourse.

Furthermore, she discussed campaigns against commercial trafficking of women, regulation of sex work, and laws targeting indecent representation of women in media. She concluded by highlighting persistent challenges such as selective female feticide, underscoring the imperative for sustained advocacy and awareness-raising efforts within the women’s movement.

Collaborative Dialogue and Commitments

Participants engaged in a robust discussion, addressing challenges including discriminatory attitudes and practices, such as dowry, and advocating for comprehensive approaches to address societal norms through education and awareness campaigns.

Emerging issues such as violence against LGBTQ+ individuals were also deliberated, emphasizing the challenges they encounter in accessing support services and justice. Participants underscored the importance of creating inclusive spaces and support networks for LGBTQ+ individuals, advocating for policy reforms to address their unique needs.

Throughout the session, participants expressed optimism about fostering positive change, stressing the significance of ongoing collaboration, research initiatives, advocacy campaigns, and efforts to empower women and marginalized groups through education and economic opportunities.

In conclusion, the session provided a platform for meaningful dialogue and collaboration, showcasing the shared commitment of participants to comprehensively address gender-based violence. Moving forward, Advocate Agnes expressed a collective determination to advocate for policy reforms, raise awareness, and foster inclusive spaces to effectively combat gender-based violence.

The session report comprehensively captures the key discussions, insights, and commitments made during the session, highlighting ongoing efforts to address gender-based violence through collaboration, advocacy, and empowerment.

Acknowledgment: Reet Lath is a Research Intern at IMPRI.

Read more event reports of IMPRI here:

Foundations of Gender-based Violence: Historical Context and Definitions

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