A Four Week Online Certificate Training Course on “Ending Violence Against Women: Awareness of Laws and Policies in India”, organized by the Gender Impact Studies Center (GISC), at the IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi. The session was on “VAW and Legal Safeguards and Other Measures: Special Remarks” by Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director, Centre for Social Research India. Inaugurating the session Bhavni, a researcher at IMPRI, welcomed the speakers and participants to the program with an introduction to the eminent panelists.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari highlighted that violence against women is a serious and widespread issue globally. It includes physical, emotional, sexual and economic abuse. These issues should not only be discussed by women but only men. Efforts are needed to address these problems which involves raising awareness, challenging harmful gender stereotypes, advocating for policy changes, and promoting gender equality to create safer environments for women everywhere.
Prevention: Legal Safeguards
She continued by saying that preventing violence against women requires a multifaceted strategy that includes education, empowerment, legal protections, and societal attitudes. Women who are economically, socially, and physically empowered are better able to withstand abuse and fight for their rights. A safer environment is produced through enforcing and improving laws against gender-based violence while also providing victims with easily accessible support services. We can create long-lasting change by enlisting males as allies, encouraging polite conduct, and fostering a culture of accountability within communities.
- Domestic Violence Act 2005: The Domestic Violence Act of 2005 in India is a fundamental legislative framework that handles and combats domestic violence against women. Aiming to defend women’s rights to live in a world free from violence, the legislation provides remedies such protection orders, residency orders, monetary redress, and child custody. The act is essential in preventing domestic abuse and advancing the wellbeing of people in domestic relationships across the nation because it recognizes the need to protect victims and advance gender equality.
- Criminal Law Amendment Act,2013: An important piece of legislation that addressed issues with sexual assaults and improved the safety and security of women was India’s Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013. The high-profile Nirbhaya gang-rape case in Delhi prompted the passage of this act, which significantly altered the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, and the Evidence Act. The act also included safeguards to protect victims’ rights throughout the judicial process, such as limitations on victim identification and a guarantee of a speedy trial for cases involving sexual offenses. This amendment was a critical step in bolstering the nation’s legal system for women’s safety and gender justice.
- 3.One Stop Crisis Centre: The One Stop Crisis Centre (OSCC) in India is a critical initiative established to provide comprehensive support and assistance to victims of various forms of violence, particularly women who have experienced domestic violence, sexual assault, and other gender-based crimes. She praised how Bangladesh established One Stop Crisis Centres which reflects the commitment of the government and various stakeholders to addressing and preventing gender-based violence, while also empowering survivors to reclaim their lives and seek justice.
Lastly, she mentioned Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Yojna, campaigns, engagement of women in sports helping in gender equality and other social norms.
Dr. Ranjana Kumari further stated some reasons that violence against women still exists in our society. She continued by emphasizing that it is a complicated problem affected by a number of systems, social, cultural, economic, and economic elements. Some of the main causes of such violence include:
1.Gender Inequality: Long-standing patriarchal traditions and bias against women contribute to the uneven power relationships between men and women, sustaining a culture in which violence against women is accepted or even encouraged.
2. Lack of Education: Women in particular, who have lower levels of education, may be less informed of their rights and options, which leaves them more open to abuse and less inclined to seek assistance.
3.Weak Law Implementation: Corruption, a lack of funding, and social prejudices can all make it difficult for legislation protecting women’s rights to be implemented effectively.
4. Lack of Empowerment: Women’s capacity to defend themselves may be weakened by a lack of chances for them to take part in decision-making and have access to resources.
She came to the conclusion that combating violence against women involves an all-encompassing strategy that includes shifting societal attitudes, enhancing education and awareness, strengthening legal frameworks, and developing support structures for survivors.
Acknowledgements: Riya is a Research Intern at IMPRI.
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