Spread awareness about bill against domestic violence
KATHMANDU: Women activists want the government to take an initiative to effectively implement the domestic violence bill, besides spreading awareness about it.
The Domestic Violence and Punishment Bill 2065 defines physical, mental, sexual, financial as well as behavioural violence as domestic violence.
Efforts are on to amend the bill to ensure that every individual lives with dignity in the society and those perpetrating domestic violence are punished. It also aims to protect the rights of the victims.
The bill is applicable to ‘family relations’, including descendents, adopted children, their spouses, joint family members, dependant and even domestic workers.
It states that the victim can file a complaint at a police station, local body or National Women’s
The government will establish service centres for victims to ensure security, treatment and rehabilitation. Such centres will provide victims with legal aid and psychological counselling.
The bill has a provision of slapping up to six months of imprisonment and Rs 25,000 fine on perpetrators of domestic violence and up to three months of imprisonment and Rs 12,500 fine on their accomplices. In case of physical or psychological injuries to the victims, the perpetrators will have to bear the cost of treatment. A person found guilty of perpetrating domestic violence once will face double the penalties for subsequent offence. Pubic servants perpetrating domestic violence will get ten per cent extra punishment.
Durga Sob, president of the Federation of Dalit Women, said the bill was introduced after continuous struggle of several decades.
“The effective implementation of the bill is a big challenge,” added Sob. She lamented that there were several laws and policies in Nepal that are not practised in the real sense.
She said the larger masses that live in rural areas should be made aware about the bill. Women working in the sister organisations of the political parties should be tasked with spreading awareness about the bill in the rural areas. She said the bill would be more effective if it addressed the specific population group.
Dhan Kumari Sunar, an NWC member, said they were working as per the mandate of the bill and were having dialogue with authorities concerned for making the implementation procedure easier. She added that they were thinking of referring the cases of domestic violence to the local bodies and police officers, as NWC cannot punish or compensate anyone showing domestic violence as the cause. Meera Dhungana, senior advocate said the government should formulate directives and regulations concerning the bill. She said sufficient budget should be set aside for helping victims and leaflets containing complete information about the bill should be published using simple language, as legal jargon is hard to comprehend.
“There should be public pressure programmes for the effective implementation of the bill,” added Dhungana.
Pramada Shah, former president of Saathi argued that there should be Rapid Response Team comprising cops for providing immediate help to the victims. “Rehabilitation centres should also be set up,” viewed Shah, adding, there should be safer place for women for getting shelter. She said NGOs, government bodies and community should do their bit for effective implementation of the bill.
Renu Raj Bhandari, president of Women’s Rehabilitation Centre, said though the bill had loopholes it will go a long way in empowering women. She added that there should be a provision for counsellor with the establishment of complaint centres. She said the bill should be drafted from the human rights perspective. She argued that the support mechanism might not be effective as the right for investigating into the cases was given to police officers and local bodies governed by
“The bill should be proactive rather than reactive,” added Rajbhandari.
Toya Nath Adhikari, legal officer at Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare, said the implementation would be effective if it helped rural women who had been suffering from domestic violence for ages. He said para-legal committees, in coordination with the local women, should help build support mechanism.