Sensitisation of students at educational institutions would go a long way in reducing crimes against women, said Minister for Social Welfare M.K. Muneer.

Speaking during the inaugural function of the workshop organised by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) at the College of Engineering here on Monday, the Minister said that this would be a step towards moulding a generation that proactively works towards preventing crimes against women.

“There is a ‘Kerala model’ for health and even education. To create a model ‘women-friendly’ State, promoting awareness is imperative to create an environment that is safe for women irrespective of the time or location,” said the Minister, appreciating the AICTE’s initiative to conduct the seminar to sensitise the management and faculty of technical institutes on measures to curb sexual crimes.

Citing figures that showed high incidences of crime across the board, be it child abuse, domestic violence or harassment in the work place or educational institutions, Dr. Muneer said that atrocities could be effectively curbed only at the local level. Jagratha Samithis functioning under the aegis of the Kerala Women’s Commission will be strengthened mainly to find unreported cases of abuse within the household.

The overwhelming number of cases in a single panchayat, whereby women tolerate physical assault and mental torture at their homes, came to light when a crime mapping exercise was carried out by Kudumbasree at the Mararikulam South panchayat.

This enabled the Social Welfare Department to take action accordingly, said the Minister, adding that this could serve as a pilot for other ward-level activities to follow.

He also said that the government is also focusing on rehabilitation measures for setting up Nirbhaya shelter homes to provide security and protection to victims of violence. The facility to conduct video conferences here so that victims are not put through the trauma of having to confront their attackers directly is also being followed through by the government, in addition to setting up fast-track courts in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.