Nov 22, 2014

First State Level Stock Taking on Protection of Women from Domestic Violence 2005

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Coinciding with the International Human Rights Day and concluding day of 16 days of activism, the first state level stock taking with reference to the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 was organised by Oxfam India in collaboration with civil society collective in Lucknow.

The chief guest, State Minister, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, Aruna Kumari Kori praised and appreciated the step taken by Oxfam India and other civil society for their efforts and initiatives towards ending violence against women. Expressing deep concern over the situation & slow pace of the implementation she assured the audience that decision will be taken soon on these issues. The government of Uttar Pradesh and my department is very sensitive and serious on the issue of domestic violence and affirmative action will be taken by the state government on the issues raised today.

Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW), Rashmi Singh said that for the proper implementation of the Act, there is a need to develop a separate cadre. Sharing an overview of NMEW, she informed that the Mission is planning to document and disseminate the challenges and best practices related to act from across the country  for wider learning & replication. The Mission is also planning to conduct research study on the pending cases of domestic violence and grievances of women and present the findings and recommendations before the Chief Justice, of India. She also shared that Mission has initiated pilot projects in different State & establishing functional  support centres for survivors in selected districts of U.P. will soon be launched in collaboration with  Oxfam India & with the active support of the state government as a critical pilot project. She called upon the various government departments to support & contribute to this initiative.

Secretary, Samajwadi Party UP, Juhi Singh said that it is because of the active campaigning by civil society organisations that there has been some awareness amongst women about their rights & entitlements under “Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 .But still there is a long way to go.  ” As representative of the ruling party I will try my best to mobilise the state government towards effective implementation the Act ..

Social activist, Pooja Sekera emphasized on the importance of the act and called upon the media to play greater role and  sensitive reporting on domestic violence cases.  She expressed her concern that the violence inside the houses is often unheard and home which is considered to be a safe place is actually not safe at all. This law definitely protects women inside the home; the only thing which is required now is proper implementation. There is need to dissemination of information of related to act. Sharing about the recent initiative by the UP police “women Power Line”1090 to which she’s closely associated, Ms Sekera said that she’d urge the state government & Police department to  extend the services of this Help Line to the survivors of domestic violence as well for it’s presently  limited to cater to the female victims of eve teasing & cyber crime.

Program Coordinator, Humsafar, Mamta Singh  presented the current status of the implementation of  Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005, in Uttar Pradesh based on the study jointly conducted by Oxfam India & partner organisations- Humsafar, Vanangana and Shri Ramanand Sarasawati Pustakalay. Statistic clearly reflected that condition of the implementation of Act is very poor

Over 300 survivors from across the state had an opportunity to have a dialogue with the speakers and guests present regarding redressal of their grievances. Some of the women survivors shared their plight and sought government’s response and action for protection & justice. 

Former Vice Chancellor of Lucknow University & social activist Prof. Roop Rekha Verma, shared the findings of the study conducted by Sajhi Duniya related to the judicial procedures highlighting the fact that the path towards the protection of women rights is completely bottlenecked specially when it comes to domestic violence. On the name of saving the family and family members the attitude of the judicial system has also been very negative towards the law. 

The event has opened gates for further advocacy at state level. Given the excellent supportive gestures from Minister, DWCD, representative of the executive committee of the ruling party and other relevant stakeholders, we will step up our effort to opening of 4 support centres in UP for now and pursue for the similar provision by state govt for the state. The Minister has assured to talk to CM in this regard.

Another opportunity that surfaced is to extend the services of "Women Powerline" 1090, a telephone helpline that has been recently launched by the state government and is being run by State Police Department, to the survivors of domestic violence. Currently Women Powerline is attending cases of eve teasing, MMS & harassment etc.

Story Credit: Dr.Smriti Singh 

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