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Ending domestic violence

Jan 06, 2010

Staying Alive: Third Monitoring and Evaluation Report 2009, compiled by the Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative, highlights delays in the implementation of the law on domestic violence in India. It stresses on the need for zero tolerance of violence against women.

Staying Alive: Third Monitoring and Evaluation Report 2009 on the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 (PWDVA)

Publisher: Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative (LCWRI) and International Center for Research on Women, 2009(ICRW)

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Many women till date face violence in both the private and public domain and their stories have contributed to this Report and inspired Lawyers Collective Women’s Rights Initiative to continue tracking of the Law.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005(PWDV) has not yet gained the desired level of social acceptance and women still find themselves waging a lonely battle. One of the most insurmountable barriers faced is delays.

At a recent National Conference in Delhi hosted by the Ministry of Law and Justice, the delays of the Law were described as a ‘national emergency.’ This is undoubtedly the case, however, even national emergencies visit us selectively; the delay affects the vulnerable more than others as they are approaching the court for justice on survival issues.

While it is easy to blame this on the lack of sufficient number of Judges, those who deal with domestic violence cases must realise that there are solutions within the given system that they can utilise. Interim orders can be granted to prevent further derogation from a woman’s right to residence, frivolous appeals against interim orders need not be entertained and available procedural tools can be used to speed up justice.

The report suggests that women’s organisations must now form a part of the mainstream demand for judicial reforms, so as to ensure that women affected by domestic violence can get their voice heard and extricate themselves from the violence they face.

Ultimately, the success of any law must be judged by how infrequently it needs to be invoked, not how often it is used.

LCWRI together with ICRW, is presenting a rigorous data set on knowledge about and attitude towards the PWDVA and gender issues among Police, Judiciary and Protection Officers and other key stakeholders – a unique data set that has never been collected and analysed before.

Quantitative data on these aspects coupled with qualitative interviewing and observations from other key stakeholders are extremely important to help track the implementation of the Law over the next couple of years, and also inform evidence based programming and interventions.

Zero tolerance of violence against women must remain a constitutional goal. Thus, the primary responsibility to stop violence is that of the State.

Source : UNIFEM
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