NGOs: ‘Gender-sensitive' budgets crucial for ending domestic violence


Reshma Kanchan. –

ADVOCATES for women’s rights say they feel hurt and horrified by the story of 25-year-old Reshma Kanchan’s murder. They believe the unfortunate increase in violence against women alerts government that a “gender-informed, gender-sensitive” budget is crucial.

Kanchan was chopped her on her way to work in Penal on Tuesday morning after being ambushed by a male relative. She leaves behind two daughters, two and five.

Her family told Newsday several people, locally and internationally, have since sent condolences and offered help.

In a release on Wednesday, the Coalition against Domestic Violence said the news was heartbreaking, and called for “appropriate psychosocial support and other support interventions” for Kanchan’s family.

It also said, “In 2020, at least 20 women were killed by persons with whom they had relationships. Many, many more are suffering in silence and without adequate protection or access to services.

The coalition is again calling for “a comprehensive multidisciplinary investigation” into domestic murders.

In relation to Reshma Kanchan, it said, “according to interviews with her mother, there was a history of abuse which included an attack on Reshma in her mother’s yard. What were her circumstances and those of the perpetrator? What do we know about the perpetrator? Did Reshma have family and community support? Did the perpetrator have family and community support?”

It said these are the questions investigators should be seeking to answer.

“We believe this will give us a better understanding of how to intervene to prevent these preventable tragedies. Such inquiries can also highlight areas of improvement in the responses by communities and by state institutions. They will contribute to strengthening the culture of accountability of all of us to do more, to speak up, stand up and act to protect and prevent domestic violence.”

The coalition said the intersection of domestic murders with gender inequality and “harmful masculinities” is inevitable. It believes a response is needed from the whole of government and society “which includes school and out of school-based interventions, gender-sensitive parenting programmes, programmes engaging men including perpetrator interventions/batterer’s intervention programmes, and the integration of gender analysis into teacher and police education programmes, utilising multiple strategies including social media.

“These interventions are more likely to be implemented with the adoption of a well-resourced national action plan to end gender-based violence. We call upon the government to take action on the finalisation of the national action plan.”

Stephanie Leitch, director of the feminist organisation Womantra, told Newsday she sent her condolences not only to Kamchan’s family, but the entire community of Penal.

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