Despite women’s increased visibility in public places, better education and work opportunities and changing social attitude, reports of violence against women and girls including their harassment continue to remain an issue which requires constant attention and synergy with all stakeholders.
In an initiative to connect and partner with civil society and to evolve a convergence of strategies for improving safety of women in the capital city, the Commissioner of Police invited prominent NGOs, Government agencies and women individuals working in the field of women safety and empowerment for an interaction on 31.7.2012. Delhi Commission for Women, Centre for Social Research, Jagori, Centre for Equality & Inclusion, Action India, North East Forum, AHAD and Women Studies & Development Centres of Delhi University and Jamia Milia Islamia are few among those who participated in the discussion and shared their views, experiences including findings of studies/surveys conducted by them for creating a more gender responsive society and inculcating a sense of safety and security among the women and girls.
The deliberations centered around how the capital city can be made more secure for women to protect their rights of freedom of movement and safety. And, any road map for women safety should focus on violence and harassment in public spaces and the responses, strategies and campaigns to resist such deviant behaviour and make public spaces safer for women at all times of day and night.
This was the first among a series of proposed interactions between police and civil society, not only to invite inputs regarding safety of women in public spaces but also to develop a more gender sensitive and responsive police force. Further, this exchange of ideas will help in improving the action plan for enhanced safety of women and girls and also to evolve a strategy to act in partnership with civil society.
The following decisions are arrived at in the meeting:-
- Delhi Police Standing Order on women’s safety will be revised and the views of NGOs, which are practicable, will be incorporated in the revised Standing order.
- Strict instructions will be issued to all Police Stations to refrain from dissuading women complainants from getting FIRs registered. Also, efforts for reconciliation between women victims and their tormentors would be initiated only if both parties are agreeable and no coercion, whatsoever, would be resorted to.
- Self-defence programmes will be organized in the area of Jamia Nagar and New Friends Colony. Staff of Police Station New Friends Colony and Jamia Nagar will be sensitized to deal with women complainants, particularly students, with empathy.
- Security audit of women hostels and paying guest accommodations would be carried out by the Police Station staff. The Police Station would also maintain a database of such premises.
- The gender sensitization of police personnel posted in Police Stations and Crime Against Women Cells is continuous process. Efforts to make them sympathetic towards women complainants would continue.
- Placement agencies would be kept under watch by the police to ensure that they are not used as fronts for illicit activities like human trafficking etc. as well as the ground level officers in dealing with women complaints will be sensitized.
- Six coordinators from amongst North-Eastern students are being given identity cards so that they can bring their problems to the notice of the police without any difficulty.