HRN releases a report on Violence against Women in India (May 2010)

Human Rights Now (HRN) has conducted an investigation on violence against women in India as part of its ‘Violence Against Women Project’. A team of investigators visited India from September 15th to September 22th, 2008 and HRN is releasing a report entitled ‘Protection of Lives and Dignity of Women‘ with recommendations for the Indian government.

HRN’s Violence Against Women Project aims to build a network of women’s organizations and NGOs fighting violence against women in Asia, the objective is to improve the current situation by conducting investigations and making policy proposals in cooperation with such organizations. Another goal of the project is to campaign for change to the aid policy of the Japanese government, which contains almost no targeted aid plan to help end violence against women in Asia, despite its position as one of the regions major donor countries.

The research focus is on domestic violence (DV), an urgent problem in India, a country where DV is reported to be severe, and has also seen many extreme acts of DV including women killed by their husbands and members of their husbands’ family, dowry related violence, sati, acid attacks, witch hunting, violence related to child marriage and rape. Many NGOs have made efforts to improve the situation by pressuring the Indian government to enact laws against DV. As a result, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (DV Act) was enacted.

Although the enactment of the DV Act was a significant step towards changing the situation, implementation of the act has been far from successful. Thus, the main focus of HRN’s research is to investigate the daily reality of DV in India and while observing and exploring the role that the DV Act plays in real life; particular attention is paid to identification of underlying causes of the problem as well as possible solutions. Due to time restrictions, the HRN research mission selected two areas in India – Delhi and Rajasthan. The capital, Delhi, was chosen to allow examination of the implementation status of the law and to gain an overview of how the law is enforced nationwide. Rajasthan was chosen since the state is widely understood to be facing serious problems related to violence against women.

The mission found serious gaps between the law and actual reality of violence against women in India and its underlying causes. Based on their observations, the mission outlined several recommendations detailed within the report to help bridge the gap and help ensure the proper protection of women from violence.

HRN expresses its deepest thanks for the cooperation and support given to the research mission by numerous organizations and individuals.
HRN Report: Protection of Lives and Dignity of Women. 2008.pdf