Violence against women and children | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 29, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:30 AM, June 04, 2015


Violence against women and children

Low conviction rate should be addressed

A study by Brac University's School of Law has found that between 2009 and 2014, the overall conviction rate under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 in three district tribunals, including one in Dhaka, was only 0.86 percent. In other words, in around 99 percent of cases not a single conviction was handed. The study has identified numerous factors that need to be addressed in order to make this law effective. 

False cases, lack of evidence, out of court settlements, weak investigation and case backlog are some of the main reasons behind this poor conviction rate, cited by the study. This means that while some unscrupulous people can file false cases, genuine victims of violence do not get justice. Often, the perpetrators have enough influence and money to take advantage of the loopholes of the system and go scot free. The study's analysis of a number of judgements and cases has revealed certain shortcomings in the trial process. 

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Obviously, major reform is required in our legal system in order to ensure that cases of violence against women and children are not dragged out over years and that the guilty are convicted with appropriate sentences. Gender sensitivity of the police, a robust investigation process that will be unaffected by influence or money, are also vital factors to ensure higher conviction rates for genuine cases. The archaic Evidence Act of 1872, moreover, that allows a man accused of rape to question the moral character of the victim, must be repealed immediately as proposed by the Law Commission, in order to make sure that the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act 2000 provides justice for victims of sexual violence. 

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