Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Besides affecting their well-being, it prevents them from realising their full potential in society. Its impact ranges
from immediate to long-term physical, sexual and psychosocial consequences for women and girls, resulting in some cases,in death.
As citizens and human beings,women and girls have inviolable rights to a life of dignity and freedom, both from violence and the fear of violence. Families,communities and countries have to pay monetary and social costs of violence as women and girls cannot access basic rights to education, skill development and employment.
Over the years, efforts made by civil society have placed ending gender-based violence high on national and international agendas. Today, a number of countries around the world have laws in place against domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence.
Legal reforms have been welcomed at all levels in India. New provisions on acid attacks,voyeurism and stalking were made part of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act passed in April 2013 incorporates a wider definition of sexual harassment at the workplace. In addition, in recent years,
India has enacted a number of progressive legislations such as the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006; the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012; the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994. However, effective implementation of these laws continues to
be a challenge.
Women belonging to poor and marginalized communities are particularly vulnerable to violence, limiting their choices and access to legal and other forms of support.