Global Partnership to deliver social justice for women and girls in India
Friday 29 June 2018
Over the past five years the Indian government has passed a number of laws to address the growth in gender-based crimes which have shocked the world. 'Justice for Her' is a project that aimed to further understand how authorities in India can better respond to crimes against women and girls and provide better support for victims.
It is exactly a year since Dr Sunita Toor, Principal Lecturer in Criminology, was in Madhya Pradesh in India working with the key stakeholders of the project, working with four police forces. Sunita has very recently returned from a trip to India and is enthused to report that the commitment to the project is ongoing. "Each time I go out there are more positive stories to witness. We wanted to make sure that this project was sustainable and did have an ongoing impact, which is plain to see".
The two-year project was developed to increase access to justice, rights and protection for women and girl victims in the states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab through a specialist training programme for police officers. The programme was a successful knowledge exchange partnership, which empowered officers to respond to women and girls who had experienced violence. The 4 day training programme was a' train the trainer' model and would be delivered to new police recruits. On the back of the project, the Madhya Pradesh state police force also committed to opening 51 one-stop victim support centres. Contact with key stakeholders on Sunita's last trip to Madhya Pradesh are able to report that the training has now been implemented in all of their academies and the one-stop crisis centres are being developed on a one by one basis.
The empowering work of Justice for Her continues. Sunita is now back in Madhya Pradesh for a new project supported by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF). This project focuses on gender-based violence and human rights and the work centres around combatting the trafficking of women and children. Key questions which will be addresses will look to assess what the police are currently doing to tackle trafficking, to what degree do police work with communities at risk of being trafficked and to what extent do anti-trafficking police take into account the experience of the victim. Positive steps are being witnessed including developing community policing and a number of police officers have been specially trained and they have anti-trafficking cells. "Trafficking is an organised crime and justice is about meaningful justice for victims. You may rescue the victims and survivors but what happens to the organised group after this?" said Sunita Toor.
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