Gender-Based Violence (GBV), faced by women both in public and private spaces, including domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, voyeurism, stalking etc is a major threat to women equality and empowerment. A gender responsive police service requires specific training, increased presence of female personnel and community outreach to integrate gender issues into policies, protocols and operational procedures.

          In recent years, various legislations regarding GBV have been enacted viz., the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013, the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, the Protection of Women From Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and provide an opportunity to women facing violence to take recourse to the law. According to the latest National Crime Records Bureau data, during the year 2014, 3,37,922 incidences of crime against women (both under Indian Penal Code and other laws) were reported as against the 3,09,546 cases reported during 2013.

          As observed by the Working Group on Women’s Agency and Empowerment, these numbers have to be viewed keeping in mind that not all crimes against women are reported. The actual numbers may give even greater cause for concern.’

          The Role of Police is pivotal in ensuring the safety and security of citizens in general and women in particular. To increase the visibility of women in the police force, Home Ministry has carried forward the initiative to give 33% reservation to women in police force by implementing it in UTs and propagating in the States. There has been an increasing emphasis on the gender sensitivity of police force through training programmes, performance appraisal and women police stations to tackle crime against women. A recent advisory dated 12th May, 2015 by the Home Ministry stresses on the need for sensitivity in handling women’s issues.

           However, it is a matter of common knowledge that women who are victim of violence or harassment may not find it easty to approach the police or other authorities for getting help or support. It would, therefore, be desirable to provide an effective alternative for getting help and support.

          In order to promote these objectives and increase focused community outreach, Government of India envisages engagement/ nomination of Mahila Police Volunteers (MPVs) in all States and UTs who will act as a link between police and the community and facilitate women in distress. This will be implemented in a phased manner.

For details, please see Mahila Police Volunteers Guidelines .