Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health ( SWASTH )

Bihar Technical Assistance Support Team (BTAST)
Government of Bihar initiative supported by Department for International Development, UK

 
 

Bihar government holds gender sensitisation workshop for Judicial Magistrates and Protection officers

Women Development Corporation holds a one-day workshop for Judicial Magistrates and Protection Officers in Patna to increase awareness on domestic violence as well as sexual harassment at the workplace.

Patna: The Women Development Corporation (WDC) of the Bihar government organised a state-level workshop for Judicial Magistrates and Protection Officers on the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 (PWDVA) on January 16, 2016.  The workshop was held by the Bihar Technical Assistance Support Team (BTAST) under the Sector Wide Approach to Strengthening Health (SWASTH) programme and was supported by  Muzaffarpur-based National Institute for Rural Development, Education, Social Upliftment and Health (NIRDESH).

The aim of the state-level workshop was to increase awareness about domestic violence as well as sexual harassment at the workplace. The well attended workshop saw the participation of Judicial Magistrates and Protection Officers from all districts of Bihar.

Dr N Vijaya Laxmi, Managing Director, WDC, highlighted the role of WDC as a nodal agency for implementing the provisions of PWDVA in Bihar. She said that PWDVA’s successful implementation depends upon the work of judiciary, police and administration. Elaborating on the important role of the women’s helpline in providing succor to women, she said: “It is not just a telephone line. It’s a team consisting of a Protection Officer, a Counsellor and a Coordinator who deal with each case with the help of judiciary and police.” It is a unique achievement in Bihar under which a victim has to be given interim relief within three days and justice within 60 days, Dr Vijaya Laxmi added.

Speaking on the occasion, the Hon’ble Justice of the Patna High Court Ramesh Kumar Datta said that PWDVA is not a very new Act, but many people are not aware of it. He said that the Act will succeed in curbing atrocities and violence against women only if all stakeholders join together to implement its provisions. PWDVA provides for free legal aid to women. He added that even many lawyers are not aware of the Act.

BTAST Team Leader Prakash Kumar shared some of the key achievements of the project. He added that one of the very important things  that is in process is the setting up of the Gender Resource Centre in Bihar for which the Department for International Development (DfID) has provided funding.

Bharat from Vishakha, a group for women's education and research in Jaipur,  highlighted the unique features of the Act, the procedures to be followed and relief provided to the victims under PWDVA and the role of major stakeholders.