Need to Create Safe Homes and Safe Neighborhoods
There is urgent need to ensure safety for women and children within their homes and create safe neighborhoods in order to protect women and children against violence and abuse said Union Minister of Women and Child Development (WCD) and Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani, in New Delhi today. She was delivering the keynote address in the 2nd edition of South Asia Safety Summit organized by the Ministry of WCD and FACEBOOK. Quoting NCRB data of 2017 the Minister stated that the 3 lakh crimes registered against women are committed by husbands and relatives so the challenges to women and children safety issues lie closer to home. She further added that as per the NCRB data 42% of men justify domestic violence and 62% of women support domestic violence.
The South Asia Safety Summit is being organized to highlight the issue of safety while individuals and communities are connected on the digital platform. Participants from 125 civil society organizations, feminist groups, child safety experts, academics focused on gender and mass communication, safety practitioners, mental health and suicide prevention organizations, disabilities rights groups, and partners who have expertise in running digital literacy programmes and creating tools for social-emotional development of young people are attending the Summit. They are from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Afghanistan.
In her keynote address, Minister of WCD highlighted the steps taken by the Ministry like one stop centres to service the needs of women in the locality and informed the gathering that 10 one stop centres open every month across the country and by the end of this year every district will have an operational one stop centre. She further informed that every district of India will have anti trafficking units which is the first ever such initiative undertaken by the Government. To make police stations more accessible for women and children Women’s help desks are being set up in each police station across the county as a police station is the first place that a woman reaches whenever she faces a threat to her security and life. Along with Ministry of Home Affairs the Ministry of WCD has launched the cyber-crime portal and the Ministry of WCD is helping to strengthen this portal so that women are able to lodge complaints of cyber bullying, online shaming and online threats.
Minister further informed that WCD Ministry is digitally listing all sex offenders in India so that whenever background checks of employees need to be conducted its database will enable employers.
Minister also requested digital platforms to keep linguistic and cultural aspects and special attention to DIVYANG women and children who need additional support on digital platforms if holistic policy is to be put in place.
During the Summit, Smriti Zubin Irani launched “We Think Digital” website. This website is an online education portal with interactive tutorials aimed at helping people think critically and share thoughtfully online. The topics covered include privacy, safety, security, digital discourse and knowing your digital footprint. “We Think Digital” is a four-part course designed to empower students with the knowledge to use, understand, evaluate, communicate and create with digital technologies. It outlines the digital citizen’s rights and responsibilities, encourages them to think critically about their digital behaviour and interactions, communicate respectfully and be responsible digital citizens in the online world. The programme will focus on online safety, privacy and misinformation.