Domestic violence is a very common social problem in Pakistan. Almost 70 to 90 percent of women face this problem. According to statistics, every year almost 5000 women die from domestic violence (1).
There are various underlying reasons for why a woman accepts violent behavior from her husband and/or in-laws. These include some social norms, fear of social rejection, sense of being dependent on husband, and lack of legal awareness against domestic violence. Our society as a whole, sadly does not accept a woman who leaves her husband’s house and raises her voice against his brutality. Most of the times, she does not leave her husband for a better future for her children or might think that she cannot live and take care of her children on her own.
In Pakistan, women have to face different kinds of abuse which range from verbal abuse to life threatening situations like acid/kerosene oil burning. Unfortunately, most of the victims do not get access to legal support. In many cases, law enforcement authorities refuse to register domestic violence cases not considering them as a crime. And sometimes the criminals set free because of their influential position in the society. Consequently, large numbers of women spend their whole lives bearing violent situations.
According to Express Tribune 2012, “the Senate unanimously approved the Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Bill. The bill criminalizes any act of violence perpetrated privately and aims to protect women, children and other vulnerable people from domestic violence. However this still needs to be implemented in all cases of domestic violence and also needs to shape up this bill into a law against domestic violence” (2).
To create awareness among masses and law enforcing agencies about legal aspects of domestic violence is very important. Besides that it is very crucial to develop a proper system for the implementation of these laws and regulations in the country at every level
According to Dr. Patel (2011) following are the steps which the state needs to implement to strengthen for the implementation. Appointment and empowerment of statutory authorities at the central and state level (3, 4, and 5)
- Appointment and empowerment of statutory authorities at the central and state levels
- Preparation of policy statements by such statutory authorities enclosing clear guidelines on the manner of implementation of the law such as code of conduct to be followed by functionaries, provision of best practices, etc.
- Evaluation and auditing the effectiveness of particular laws and the periodic publication and submission of compliance reports with a central statutory authority.
- Upgrading the quality of statistics maintained on women. Building capacity of the functionaries appointed under the law such as statutory authorities, police personnel, health personnel, counselors, etc by conducting regular trainings on the law including aspects of gender sensitization as well as improving practices followed by them.
- Introducing mechanisms to ensure quicker and simpler procedures for women to obtain legal redress to their problems. This would include the provision of legal aid, assistance at the time of registering complaints, making applications, provision of information on the legal options available to the women etc.
- Raising awareness of the services and support available to women facing discrimination, from both governmental and nongovernmental sources.
- Ensuring adequate representation of women in statutory advisory bodies/ policy making bodies.
- Sustained interactions between different governmental agencies to promote multi agency working.
- Allocation of adequate budgets for the proper functioning of the statutory authorities.
- Constant monitoring and auditing of accounts by a central authority.
- Submission of financial reports to the Auditor General for it to be placed before on the floor of the Parliament or State Legislature as the case may be”.
- Victims of domestic violence do not get justice or if they raise their voice against this crime, are snubbed by the police and even their own families. The state should step forward and implement the laws against domestic crime. This will help people to fight for their rights and also assist NGOs which strive for the rights of victims of domestic violence.