World Trade Center Chennai in association with the Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) organized a panel discussion on women and child abuse during COVID pandemic. Mr. Sajiv Menon, Chaiman, IACC gave the opening remarks. Dr. Bose K. Nair, VP, World Trade Center and Ms. Sujatha Sunil, Secretary, IACC also spoke.
Panelists Justice M. Jaichandren, Former judge, High Court of Madras & Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India and Mr. K. Sanjay Kumar IPS, DIG – Thiruvananthapuram Range were the speakers.
Ms. Uma Reddy, Advisor, World Trade Center moderated the session.
Ms. Reddy talked about how ‘workplace’ has become confined to homes. She also discussed the importance of redefining Prevention of Sexual Harassment in these times. The rules need to include Virtual platforms. Guidelines regarding video communication methodology needs to be clearly defined and followed by employees.
Justice M. Jaichandren in his speech said that the victims have limited access to judiciary at this time. Therefore creating awareness is important. Authorities including NGOs should work together for this cause and States should take action for zero tolerance towards abuse. We lack a witness protection system like in developed countries which gives the victim protection from external forces which may try to influence the case. He mentioned the ‘Kaavalan app’ used by Chennai police to track crimes. He was of the strong opinion that counselling centers should be set up in schools to monitor children as the victims themselves may not report it and would need external help.
Mr. Sanjay Kumar IPS was of the opinion that, pandemic or not, there has been a steady increase in cybercrimes and that the factors that led to abuse of women and children were more or less the same. He stated that people resort to online crime thinking that they would be untraceable. They also need not come to proximity of the victim. In most cases, victim wouldn’t know the crime is taking place. He added that with the sudden changes that had happened due to COVID, we are not yet fully equipped to deal with the crimes and incidents associated with it. People also should have the attitude to report a crime. He said that Indians are still following traditional parenting methods in the digital era thinking that their children would never be subject to any abuse.