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Alex is supporting justice for female victims of violence in India

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Alex is supporting justice for female victims of violence in India

Thursday 27 July 2017

According to the World Health Organisation, one-third of all women worldwide experience gender-based violence during their lifetime.

But even the most violent crimes committed against women are rarely reported and perpetrators are often unpunished.

A recent study found that the global average of women reporting gender-based violence to a formal source is just 7 per cent.

In India, this figure falls to less than 1 per cent.

The Indian government has taken steps in recent years to curb this violence against women, encouraging victims to report crimes and help prevent them from withdrawing from the justice system.

As part of this initiative, Sheffield Hallam University has partnered with the police in four Indian states; Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab, and Haryana to help the victims of sexual and domestic violence. A team of senior police officers from India visited Sheffield Hallam University to take part in a training project aimed at better understanding the barriers facing female victims of violence.

The two-year project, led by the University's Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice (HKC) and funded by the British High Commission in India, will seek to increase access to justice, rights and protection for female victims of violence through the training of police officers.

The project has designed an innovative police training programme that will raise awareness and understanding of the barriers to justice for victims and strategies to tackle associated issues, with the aim of preventing victims from withdrawing from the criminal justice system.
As part of the project, BA(Hons) Criminology alumnus and member of staff at the HKC, Alex Chaggar, travelled to India to support with project delivery.

Alex said: "During my time in India we delivered a three day workshop at the National Law University in Delhi to senior police trainers from across India. Seeing the project in action firsthand and being able to immerse myself in another culture opened my eyes to the working world outside of the UK, as well as the differences between India's criminal justice system and ours. 

"Whilst my time in Delhi was short, hectic and exhausting at times, it was an opportunity I embraced with both hands. The whole experience increased my understanding of the importance of solid project management, administration, and respect to the success of any international partnership such as this.

"I truly feel privileged to have been a part of this project and I hope to see some tangible results in the number of women reporting violent crimes to officials as a result of our work."

The project is funded by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office's Magna Carta Fund for Human Rights and Democracy, and led by the HKC's Dr Sunita Toor.

Dr Toor said: "Through the training we hope to create empowered police officers who have the ability to perform their duties more effectively, improve operational practice and prevent fewer victims from pulling out of the criminal justice system. The focus on justice is paramount.

"This part of the programme is a fantastic opportunity for senior police officers to see first-hand how police forces in the UK deal with complex cases of violence against women and girls, and better understand the structure of our multi-agency relationships."

Find out more about the life-changing research projects being conducted by Sheffield Hallam here.

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