Sonepat, Haryana: “There is an urgent need for mandatory implementation of compensation and official immunity to facilitate victim aid in India,” said Mr. Ravi Nair, Executive Director, South Asian Human Rights Documentation Centre at the 8th International Conference on Victim Assistance held at Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS). The two-day International Conference on Victim Assistance was being held at Jindal Global University (JGU) in Sonipat, Haryana on 21-22 October.
Terming victimology in India as the curious osmosis of a state-centric and more citizen-focused science, Ravi Nair, Executive Director of the South Asia Human Rights Documentation Centre (SAHRDC), has called for developing improved methods for relief to victims in the country.
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Mr. Nair whilst speaking at The Centre for Victimology and Psychological Studies (CVPS) of Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences (JIBS) during the 8th International Conference on Victim Assistance stressed the need for implementation of mandatory compensation for victim aid in India. “We need to take to take a cue from Indonesia in implementing mandatory compensation and official immunity in a bid to facilitate victim aid in the country,” Nair said.
The Conference witnessed the participation of eminent scholars from India and abroad in the presence of Prof. (Dr.) YSR Murthy, Registrar, OPJGU, and Prof. (Dr.) Sanjeev P. Sahni, Principal Director, JIBS.
Referring to the success of the conference in nurturing critical thinking and encouraging a network of victimologists around the world. Dr. Sanjeev P. Sahni said, “We organize this conference every year and have reached its 8th edition. The conference is gaining popularity and rigor with every passing year. We have seen increased interest as never before this year with more than 550 registrations and about 250 abstracts for presentation.” Dr. Sahni acknowledged the contribution of Professor (Dr.) Chokalingom, Prof. GS Bajpai, Professor (Dr.) Jaishankar, Prof. (Dr.) Beulah Shekhar Prof. and (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar, Founding Vice-Chancellor of JGU, towards promoting dialogue in victimology in India.
Dr. Sahni while appealing Psychologists and other Mental Health Professionals to come forward and apply the scientific acumen on Victimology studies, proposed joint workshops to be held by JIBS on Victim Assistance where students can participate with other delegates related to the criminal justice system. “The main theme of the workshop will discuss and provide resolution towards victim assistance,” he said. Dr. Sahni also projected the increasing popularity of the helpline introduced by JIBS for psychological assistance. “Students have started sharing their problems with their parents and now assistance is requested by parents, dialing 1800-213-1210,” he said. Mr. Pankaj Kumar Singh- IPS, Additional Director General CBI, Ministry of Department of Personnel & Training (DOP&T), Rajasthan police during the conference chaired a session on Victim Compensation and Criminal Justice System. Mr. Singh built his argument rooted in the historical desire to avoid grudges and maintain peace, by ensuring that the victim gets a place in the justice system. He questioned the position in the contemporary world where the victim is often forgotten, and the perpetrator becomes the focal point instead.
Dr. G. K. Goswami, IPS (Deputy Director, CBI) also chaired a session on Secondary Victimization and expressed concern over no specific study on wrongful convictions in India. Dr. Goswami focused on Report No. 277 of Law Commission of India published in August 2018 stating legal remedies for wrongful prosecution (miscarriage of justice). He also mentioned the LCI observation, i.e. ‘Factual Innocence’ is very difficult to prove, and wrongful conviction is too high a standard to address in India. Dr. Goswami asserted in his talk that DNA testing is a potent tool not only to identify the guilty but also to protect the innocent.
Professor (Dr.) Beulah Shekhar, Head Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Manonmaniam Sundaranar University and Professor (Dr.) Dick Andzenge, from St. Cloud State University, USA also chaired sessions on ‘Advances in Victimology’ and ‘Voiceless victims’ respectively.
In a session on ‘Victim Assistance’, Dr. P. M. Nair, IPS (Retd.) Chairperson, Centre of Excellence and Centre of Research and Learning (CORAL) highlighted the main hindrances in the criminal justice system. “We go by the number of trafficking and the number of rescues done by the NGOs, but there is a history of rescuing the same victim from different places in different times, which reflect the inefficiency and increased vulnerability,” he said.
The two-day conference deliberated extensively on the multiple issues around Victims assistance: Victims’ Rights and the Criminal Justice System, Violence within Family, Sex, Gender and Sexuality (including violence against LGBTQ), Role of NGOs, Violence Against Women and Children, Media and Cyber Victimization, Human Trafficking and Victimization of Immigrants.
40 papers were presented by eminent behavioral scientists and ‘Victimology and Psychological Studies’ scholars from across the globe. Over 100 delegates from different universities from various countries participated in the conference.