The Domestic Violence Act in Bangladesh should be amended so that it does not just offer rehabilitation-based and protective remedies to victims but also criminalizes all forms of domestic violence, says Barrister Reshad Imam
Everyone in society needs gender sensitization training to understand the real meaning of equality in order to become good human beings, speakers told a webinar.
At the webinar on Friday, jointly organized by the Academy of Law and Policy (ALAP) and Dhaka Tribune, experts emphasized on adequate legal and regulatory framework to protect women against domestic violence
Dr Faustina Pereira, head of Legal Empowerment and Sustainable Development, EC member of Ain O Shalish Kendra (ASK), former director of Human Rights and Legal Aid Services at BRAC, discussed various practical and societal hurdles faced by victims of domestic violence.
She gave a personal message to all the women who are silently suffering from domestic violence and said: “You are valued and important and you are not alone. You must love yourself and show a little courage by taking that initial step in the right direction. Please call the helpline number 109. We are all with you in this fight.”
Justice Naima Haider, judge at High Court Division, Supreme Court of Bangladesh, talked about the adequacy of the legal and regulatory framework in place to protect women against domestic violence and the enforcement issues thereof.
She pointed out that the children of the victim who are growing up in an environment of violence need to be protected from the devastating psychological consequences that may result from witnessing such violence. She also discussed various practical hurdles faced by victims of domestic violence.
Dr Ruchira Tabassum Naved, senior scientist at ICDDR,B, stated that many women who are victims of domestic violence do not come forward and seek help because they feel that our society will not give due importance to this issue.
While discussing the various practical and societal hurdles faced by victims of domestic violence, she said in some cases, victims do not identify themselves as victims due to prevailing cultural and societal norms.
Dr Ruchira gave a personal message to all the women who are silently suffering from domestic violence and stated that victims of violence should not feel helpless. There are many people out there who would be willing to help and support them. All they need to do is locate them.
The webinar was moderated by Barrister Reshad Imam, advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh.
Barrister Reshad stated that the significance of this topic and the severity of the problem cannot be overstated, especially during this pandemic.
There is an urgent need for a robust enforcement of all the existing laws that can protect victims of domestic violence in Bangladesh as it appears that movement restrictions aimed to contain the spread of the virus may be making violence in homes more frequent, more severe and more dangerous, he said.
He also stated that the Domestic Violence Act in Bangladesh should be amended so that it does not just offer rehabilitation-based and protective remedies to victims but also criminalizes all forms of domestic violence.
This was the fifth webinar of ALAP’s Legal Webinar Series jointly organized by Dhaka Tribune and ALAP.