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Convention on safety of disabled girls & women raises vital issues

November 27, 2018

A convention was organised in New Delhi to address the safety of disabled girls and women. Organised by the National Platform for Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), it sought to underline how the community remains vulnerable to sexual attacks despite tougher laws.

Murali Dharan, Secretary, NPRD is an active supporter of women's rights and has drafted many petitions in this regard. Through the convention, the NPRD aims to create awareness about the continued attacks.

The idea was to come up with an action plan that can ensure the safety of disabled women.

The event was attended by over 150 people that included members of women's organisations, legal experts and activists from various sectors and survivors of sexual attacks. The speakers at the convention shared valuable insights about the need for changes at the social and judicial levels.

It was opened by Kamla Bhasin who is known for her contribution to the women's rights movement in India.

There is a need for all round improvement to ensure safety of women with disabilities. The police and the judiciary have to ensure the protection of disabled women and children in the country. Murali Dharan, Secretary, NPRD

A resolution was adopted at the convention that highlighted the main points discussed.

- It was agreed point that there has been a drastic increase in sexually motivated violence against women with disabilities.

- Attendees also agreed to the fact there is a failure in the implementation of laws that address concerns of disabled girls and women in the country.

- The situation is made worse due to lack of awareness and empathy towards the rights of girls and women with disabilities.

- The convention resulted in a unanimous agreement about better implementation of criminal laws, POCSO and other laws governing sexual assaults on women and girls with disabilities.

- The judiciary, police and society in general need to be sensitized towards the plight of victims and survivors of sexual assault.

- Rehabilitation of survivors also needs to be carried out properly to give them a chance at better life.

These are some of the points that were discussed at the convention. Existing laws need to be strengthened and there should be proper audit and monitoring process to ensure their effective implementation.

Shampa Sengupta, Joint Secretary, NPRD shared her thoughts with NewzHook about the other challenges that are faced by disabled women after they experience a sexual attack.

"Attitudinal barriers like police saying 'who will assault a disabled girl', women's helplines being inaccessible to hearing impaired women, physical barriers in police stations, lack of information among lawyers, judiciary are some barriers."

The situation looks grim in the country at present. Organisations such as the NPRD are focused on bring about the much needed change.

The NPRD is developing a future course of action and hopes to get the support from other organisations as well. "The next steps are meeting different authorities, advocacy with women and child department urging them to take measures urgently," emphasized Sengupta.

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