Over the last many years, the country has been witnessing an alarming wave of sexual assaults and crimes against women, girls and even minor children. Several horrific instances of gang rapes and other forms of brutal acts of violence on the body of the victim have rocked the country, prompting widespread outrage and even public demonstrations of anger and defiance. While the nationwide protests may have increased the public awareness of sexual assaults, the number of reported incidents or the levels of brutality of the crimes have not shown any signs of abatement. At the same time, the brutality of sexual assaults on women and minors has rattled the conscience of citizens across the country. The incidence of trafficking of women and children has also been growing in alarming proportions. The police leaderships in many states and metropolitan cities have launched a number of proactive steps, to prevent and combat crimes against women, with varying degrees of success. Many state and city police organizations have developed innovative practices and app-based tools to enable women in distress to summon emergency police assistance etc. However, these initiatives are mostly sporadic in nature and the models, systems and processes being followed, vary from state to state. There is a felt need to identify and validate the good practices from across the country and put together, a comprehensive framework of SOPs which could guide all the stakeholders. In this connection, the foundation would like to factor in the views, the research findings, as well as the recommendations of the studentcommunity and the academia.
Legislations like the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 etc, have been significant initiatives at the national level. It follows that the field police officers need to be adequately prepared, trained, sensitized and equipped, to ensure the effective implementation and administration of these important legislations.
As part of a series of multi-stakeholder consultations, the Indian Police Foundation is undertaking nationwide consultations with police officers, NGOs, activists, academic scholars, students and citizen stakeholders to gather ideas to make our cities and streets safe for women and children. Stakeholder consultation seminars will be held in approximately 20 selected cities across the country.
The idea is to bring the police leadership and the citizen stakeholders together, document the systems and protocols prevalent in every state, identify the best practices that work, as well as the practical difficulties involved. Based on the learnings so generated, the Police Foundation will craft a draft policy framework and an action plan for submission to the Central and State Governments as well as the State Police Departments.