Nov-25 International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women
November 25 is celebrated every year as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. Violence against women and girls (VAWG).
It is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today and remains largely unreported due to the impunity, silence, stigma and shame surrounding it.
Government of India committed to eliminate any form of violence against women (Ministry of Women and Child Development)
On December 20, 1993, the General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, paving the path towards eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide.
Further, on February 07, 2000, November 25 was officially designated as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This step also became an invitation for governments, international organizations as well as NGOs to join together and organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the issue every year on this date.
The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women will mark the launch of the UNITE campaign (Nov 25- Dec 10) — an initiative of 16 days of activism concluding on the day that commemorates the International Human Rights Day2 (December 10).
Violence against women continues to be an obstacle to achieving equality, development, peace as well as to the fulfilment of women and girls’ human rights. All in all, the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - to leave no one behind - cannot be fulfilled without putting an end to violence against women and girls.
In India, the Central Government is committed to eliminating any form of violence against women and girls through numerous policies, schemes and programmes. Constitutional Provisions for the Protection of Women in India
The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favour of women to ease the cumulative barriers of socio-economic, educational and political disadvantages faced by them.
As mentioned under the Fundamental Rights:
The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
The State shall not discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them.
There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State.
Also, the Directive Principles of State Policy mention that:
The State shall direct its policy towards securing to all citizens men and women, equally, the right to means of livelihood, and shall strive to ensure equal pay for equal work.
The State is also directed to make provision for ensuring just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. Above all, the Constitution imposes a Fundamental Duty on every citizen to renounce practices derogatory to dignity of women.
National Domestic Violence Helpline
The Government of India implements the Universalisation of Women Helpline (WHL)8 Scheme since April 01, 2015 with the aim to provide 24x7 emergency and non-emergency responses, including assistance to women facing any kind of violence and distress, through a toll-free telecom service with short code 181 across the country by referral service. Women helpline is operational in 34 States/ UTs and it has handled more than 68.70 lakh calls since its operationalization (as on March 2022).
The Government also implements Emergency Response Support System (ERSS) under Nirbhaya Fund, which is a pan-India, single, internationally recognized number, i.e., 112 based system for various emergencies such as police, fire and ambulance services, with computer aided dispatch of field resources to the location of distress. It has been operationalized in 35 States/ UTs.
Further to protect women from any kind of violence including domestic violence, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has launched Helpline number(s) for reporting of domestic violence incidence during the year 2020-21. One such helpline number is 7827170170 to provide 24x7 online support to women in distress through referral by linking them with Police, Hospitals, District Legal Services Authority, psychological counsellors etc. The portal is driven by Interactive Voice Response (IVR) mechanism through Digital India in collaboration with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
Further, to assist the women facing domestic violence during the pandemic when the survivors were confined at homes with their abusers, a WhatsApp number 7217735372 was also launched as emergency response during lockdown. In matters which require urgent intervention, the State Police authorities were also approached through telephone calls/ email for providing immediate assistance to these women.