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New Crisis Centers Give Hope to Pakistani Women Who Suffered Domestic Violence

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Pakistan has long been notorious for its ever-soaring rates of violence against women. A 2013 Punjab Investigation Branch Report said that on a daily basis, six women are murdered or have an attempted murder made against them, eight are raped, 11 experience assault and battery, and 32 are abducted— and those are the conservative figures.

Thankfully, the state has recently showed sincere efforts to promote gender equality through actively establishing 36 Violence Against Women centers in various parts of the country.

The first ever center was established in Multan in the country’s the Punjab district. It is run entirely by women, offering first aid, lodging, medical examination and treatment, forensics, police reporting, mental health services such as psychological evaluation, post-trauma rehabilitation and counseling, as well as prosecution and other legal assistance services.

Shahida Nasreen, VAWC supervisory officer said that the centers have “28 females members of the police force including two inspectors, three Head Constables and 21 female constables and they are fully vigilant and active.”

Executive Director of the Women’s Rights Association Shaista Bokhari assured that “the situation has changed compared to the past when women go to the police station they are told to go back to their home and accept the violence in the absence of laws on violence against women.”

The establishment of these centers center began after Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif the Punjab Protection of Women Against Violence (PPWAV) Act in 2016. The legislation aimed to make a solid stand against violence and domestic abuse against women statewide.

Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif stated in the inaugural ceremony of the pioneer center that it will “help improve the country’s justice system and all the facilities will be provided to female victims under one roof.” He further explained that the center was intended for empowering women and not just protecting them against violence. He added that establishing more of such centers in various districts are in the works.

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