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Amid #MeToo, experts stress on creating awareness about victim rights

28 October 2018
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Business Standard

At a the #MeToo movement is exposing abuse of power by some men and also revealing the vulnerabilities of victims, experts have emphasised on the need for creating greater awareness about the rights of victims in the country.

"We have always come across criticism that we don't have mannerisms which show concerns for the victims because the law only tries to pursue trial against the accused, but the interest of the victim is neglected," Chaman Lal, former Director General of Police and former Special Rapporteur, National Human Rights Commission, said at an international conference on victim assistance at the O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU) here.

The two-day conference, held over the weekend, was organised by the Centre for Victimology and Psychological Studies (CVPS) of the Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS).

"Victimology and victim rights are things of recent origin in our country. This conference is an excellent platform to discuss these issues and how to work towards finding a solution," the former DGP said after inaugurating the conference.

The conference deliberated on multiple issues around victim assistance: Victims' rights and the criminal justice system; violence within the family; sex, gender and sexuality; role of NGOs; violence against women and children; media and cyber victimisation; human trafficking and victimisation of immigrants.

"The awareness of victimology in academia has to grow -- many fields deal with similar individual and institutional phenomena," said Professor C. Raj Kumar, Vice-Chancellor, JGU.

In today's world, ridden with violence and offence, victimology not only becomes a potent tool to educate citizens about behaviours that place them at risk of becoming victims, but also helps those working in criminal justice, law enforcement and mental health better assist victims, the experts said.

Seventy papers were presented at the conference by eminent behavioural scientists and victimology and psychological studies' scholars from across the globe, JGU said in a statement.

The conference also saw the unveiling of an in-house journal from the Jindal School of Behavioural Studies -- 'Global Advances in Victimology and Psychological Studies'.