Effective legislation urged to curb violence against women

Islamabad—The speakers at a panel discussion on Thursday stressed effective legislation to curb the incidents of violence against women and strengthening of institutional defence mechanism for the victims and their access to justice.
The discussion, organized by Australian High Commission and the United Nations Women Pakistan on ‘Progress towards gender equality in Punjab’, focused on the ‘Punjab Protection of Women against Violence Act 2016’ that was passed by the provincial legislative assembly earlier this year.
Australian High Commissioner Margaret Adamson opening the discussion said violence against women was a serious problem that continued to plague all countries across the globe. Terming women in Pakistan as integral to the country’s journey towards progress, Adamson said Australia was committed to advancing the rights of women and promoting gender equality in Pakistan.
The High Commissioner commended the Pun-jab government on establishing the Violence Against Women Centres (VAWCs), saying that the ‘one stop shop’ model would provide safe support to women survivors of violence.
Salman Sufi, senior members of Chief Minister Punjab’s Special Monitoring Unit (Law and Order Wing) highlighted the salient features of the Violence Against Women Centres-the country’s first-ever initiative taken at government level to provide assistance to the women violence victims. He said the VAWC would act as a 24/7 womenrun facility under one roof and provide the victim multiple services including first aid, FIR lodging, prosecution, medical examination, forensic and posttrauma rehabilitation.
He mentioned that all departments of the Centres were linked through a special computer software developed by Punjab Information Technology Development Board. He said with launch of pilot VAWC to be operational in Multan by mid September, the Punjab government had sent a message to the world that violence against women would never be accepted as a norm in society.
Jamshed Kazi, country representative UN Women Pakistan said violence against women was one amongst the biggest threats to any society and called the need for supporting the State and the judi-ciary to uphold their responsibilities to deter such crimes in first place.
He lauded the government of Punjab for taking a bold, progressive and much-needed step to go ahead with the Protection of Women Against Violence Act, adding that if implemented in letter and spirit, it would bring positive change for women in the province, besides setting up an example throughout the country.—APP

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