Gender Violence

Justice elusive to victims of gender-based violence

Speed up the trial process

Nov 28 2018 - Although incidents of gender-based violence have increased over the years, there is hardly any improvement in terms of getting justice in the cases filed over these incidents. A recent ActionAid commissioned research study has revealed that in the cases filed in such incidents, 97 percent women do not get justice, four out of five such cases brought before the court remain unaddressed for two years before they get court dates, and only in 3.1 percent cases the court rules in favour of the victims. Another striking finding of the study is that two-thirds of such violence occur inside victims’ homes. According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, an average of 137 women across the world are killed by a partner or family member every day.

These findings have brought to light the fact that the measures taken by the government and non-government organisations to end gender-based violence and bring the perpetrators of such crimes to justice are just not enough. And the fact that in 96.9 percent of the cases, victims either did not get court hearings or had their cases dismissed is a clear indication of how these cases are manipulated by the perpetrators who are generally powerful or influential.

It is also a well-known fact that compared to the large number of incidents of violence, cases are filed only in a few of them. Having little or no information about filing complaints, interference by community leaders and the slow rate of case proceedings at court are the common reasons for low report rate.

Therefore, the state must ensure that appropriate information is disseminated among women to make them aware of resources and channels to safely file legal complaints and grievances. In addition, a lot needs to be done to change the “socially accepting attitude” towards this kind of violence. And the media also has a very important role to play here in terms of raising awareness campaigns, reporting more on violence inside the home and doing follow-up reports on the court proceedings in such cases.

This story was originally published by The Daily Star, Bangladesh

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