Sexual harassment is a crime that is under-reported for various reasons. Even if a woman raises alarm, those passing by or witnessing the incident often hesitate to come and support the victim and this result in the perpetrator getting away easily.
Timely action against sexual harassment can help to reduce the incidence of the crime as it is believed that “once caught, a perpetrator will hesitate to perform the same action again”. Any sort of initial support will encourage the victim to raise her voice against injustice. The discussion on making Delhi’s public spaces safer for women cannot be complete without a discussion on the legal provisions relating to sexual harassment as well as issues of justice and support for victims. The process of getting justice is hectic and there is little support for the victims, whether legal, social or psychological.
The lack of visible police presence, absence of trust in the police, low number of women constables, insensitive and frivolous attitude and poorly publicised or inaccessible helplines have contributed to even less than 1% of the women approaching or reporting to the police.
Proper registration of a complaint and prosecution is essential to ensure that the perpetrator is not let off easily. This requires widespread awareness on regulating laws on violent crimes such as rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment of a violent nature. Legal, financial, social, emotional and psychological help need to be offered to the victim. Report the crime and take action against it. It is time to ACT NOW!
As a result of persistent advocacy from women's groups over many decades, women's helpline numbers 1091/103 and a dedicated post box no. 5353 for complaints from women in distress were installed. In 2012, Jagori conducted a study on the functioing of Delhi police helplines run for women to understand the gaps in functioning and response and monitoring services. Please find the report in this Publication.
Delhi Police conducts free self defence trainings, and advocacy campaigns and anti-stalking campaigns were also organised. In August 2005, the Delhi police launched ‘Parivartan’, a program calling for community action to end violence against women. Jagori has been an integral part of training sessions conducted for women beat constables as part of this campaign and has also given recommendations for strengthening the system.
With the recent developments, the Indian Penal Code now defines several sections on sexual harassment in public, private and work places, post the Criminal L aw (Amendment) Act 2013 and the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013. Women and girls today can file a complaint or FIR with Police and any NGO working on women's rights or child rights will support them. For more information please visit the 'Deal with Sexual Harassment' page.
Emergency helplines for women:
Anti-stalking & Anti- Obscene call Helpline
Women's helpline by Chief Minister of Delhi
Delhi Transport Corporation
Special Unit for Protection of Women and Children Cell Headquarters