Experts discuss Domestic Violence Prevention and Protection Bill 2021

Implementation of laws & education will end domestic violence: Senator Waleed

ISLAMABAD: Senator Walid Iqbal, Isma Sana - Oxfam, Baela Raza Jamil - CEO ITA and others during a panel discussion on Domestic Violence Bill 2021.
By: Our Correspondent

ISLAMABAD: Experts discussed and gave recommendations regarding Early & Forced Marriages (CEFM) and Violence Against Women & Girls (VAWG) in Pakistan, particularly the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill 2021, in Islamabad on Thursday, November 4, 2021 under the Creating Spaces (CS) project.

The consultative meeting was organized by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) in collaboration with Oxfam at a local hotel in Islamabad on Thursday, November 4, 2021 under the Creating Spaces (CS) project.

Waleed Iqbal, Chairman, Senate Standing Committee on Human Rights was the chief guest on the occasion. Addressing the event, he said, the Domestic Violence Bill is not only focusing on the prevention of physical abuse but mentally as well. Currently, the bill is in National Assembly after a few amendments by the senate to be considered and for approval. He also mentioned the punishments and penalties under this bill along with monetary relive and physical relief for the victims. He strongly emphasized the implementation of existing laws, certainty of punishments, education and brought up, trust of community on laws and legal systems, and sensitization of males to end Violence against women and girls (VAWG).

Isma Sana from Oxfam in Pakistan stressed the impunity and misconceptions in the society regarding domestic violence which should be tackled properly through legislation and domestic violence should be considered as a punishable crime. Along with that she also mentioned that according to the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey, a staggering approximately 32 percent of women have experienced physical violence in Pakistan and 40 percent of ever-married women have suffered from spousal abuse at some point in their life. Ms. Baela Raza Jamil (CEO – ITA) said, while the Government of Pakistan has passed various laws to prevent violence and support those affected by it, the conviction rate for violence against women sits at only 1-2.5 percent. Resources and services for women survivors of GBV remain scarce. She also highlighted that we must ensure quality education and education for all to end gender-based violence and early child marriages. The event thus aimed to engage multiple stakeholders, including lawmakers, civil society and departments concerned to strengthen linkages and to reflect on the existing women and child protection laws and their implementation to establish an effective system of protection, relief and rehabilitation of women, children, elders and other vulnerable groups against domestic violence in ICT.

There was a plenary discussion on the importance of Domestic Violence Bill and its implementation with the existing laws to end VAWG. Senator Fauzia Arshad, Member Senate Standing Committee on National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination. MPAs Farah Agha and Mohammad Ijaz Khan Jazi; Shehzad Ahmed; representative of Ministry of Human Rights; Isma Sana from Oxfam In Pakistan participated in the panel discussion which was moderated by trans rights activist Nayyab Ali. The participants exchanged views on the barriers in the prevention of and response to GBV in Pakistan, including misperceptions around GBV, limited or ineffectual legislation and lack of support systems and safety nets for those who do attempt to seek support. They gave recommendations to overcome these challenges to create safe spaces for women and children.

Meanwhile, Aisha Lateef from Darul Aman, Rawalpindi and Rizwana Basheer, Manager Crisis Center Rawalpindi shed light on the challenges they face at the grassroots level while spreading awareness against domestic violence.