Women and Justice Mechanisms: Protecting Against Violence
While India has enacted a number of progressive laws to address gender-based violence, data from the National Crime Records Bureau suggests that violence against women is increasing. Two-thirds of all women are subjected to violence. Rape is reported every 30 minutes in the country, making it one of the fastest growing crimes in the country. However, conviction rates for cases involving violence against women remain low.
On International Women’s Day, UNDP India presents snapshots of research underway aimed at strengthening justice mechanisms to address violence against women
Towards Women-friendly Courtrooms in India
Following the brutal gangrape and murder of a woman on a bus in New Delhi in December 2012, the Delhi High Court setup six fast track courts specifically aimed at ensuring justice for survivors of rape. A year-long study undertaken by Partners for Law and Development assesses the rape trial process and experiences of victim-survivors in these Courts. It aims to identify gaps between the law and practices that disempower victims and approaches to ensuring these new structures are sensitive and enabling for women victims of violence. Since Delhi is the first-such state to have set up fast track courts to deal with violence against women, it hopes to inform similar courts set up in other parts of the country.
Strengthening Emergency Responses through One Stop Crisis Centres
This study supported by UNDP and conducted by the Lawyers Collective aims to strengthen institutional emergency and support systems so that they can effectively respond to the needs of women survivors of violence. The study explores the setting up of One-Stop Crisis Centres that provide medical, legal and psychological support services under one roof to women survivors of violence. It stems from the recognition that survivors of violence against women face tremendous physical, emotional and psychological trauma which often “re-victimizes” the survivor or makes it difficult for her to continue legal processes. In partnership with civil society organizations, UNDP has started developing and testing different models of one stop crisis centres. The learnings from these models have the potential to inform the design of a comprehensive approach to address violence against women.
According to Sumeeta Banerji, Assistant Country Director and Head of the Governance Unit, ”These studies aim to provide important inputs towards effectively responding to the needs of women survivors of violence in India. Experiences from other countries has shown that a combination of systematic interventions that include women-friendly courtrooms and one stop crisis centres are powerful solutions in the right direction.”
Watch this space for more on this research!