App launched to support survivors of gender-based violence

'Humqadam' app to provide legal support to abuse survivors

Our Correspondent May 22, 2024
'Humqadam' app launch event held at Islamabad on May 21, 2024. PHOTO: EXPRESS


A mobile app designed to aid women experiencing physical and emotional violence called 'Humqadam' was launched at a local hotel yesterday (Tuesday).

Developed by the women's rights CSO, Shirkat Gah-Women’s Resource Centre in collaboration with the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and with technical support from LUMS University, the app aims to connect survivors with legal and other essential services.

The project received funding from the UN Trust Fund.

The app received acclaim from speakers, including Chair of NCSW Nilofar Bakhtiar, members of the National Assembly (MNA), and senior government officials.

The speakers deemed the app as "timely and much needed", highlighting the lax implementation of relevant laws, the absence of integrated data, and persistent negative cultural norms allowing impunity for violence against women.

"The app provides these answers, detailing national and provincial resources and details of existing services in 16 districts," the organisation's Director Farida Shaheed stated while adding the grave issue of gender-based violence in the country.

The NCSW chairperson stressed the need to reprioritize policies concerning women, with gender-based violence being a top priority for NCSW.

She highlighted the absence of NCSW chapters in Sindh, Punjab, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and noted that the commission has been functioning without a regular board for over a year.

Former MNA Mehnaz Akbar Aziz underscored the necessity of raising awareness to ensure the success of the initiative, suggesting its introduction in universities, among women lawyers, and influencers as crucial "pockets of change."

The presentation by the organisation's coordinator Sana Raza and Dr. Salman Shahid from LUMS underscored the application's development process and its aim to create awareness across all levels of society.

United Nations (UN) Women’s Portfolio Manager Saman Ahsan highlighted the dwindling funding for gender inequality initiatives over time, citing the example of the Covid-19 pandemic.

MNA Huma Akhtar Chugtai noted the comprehensive referral mechanism provided by the mobile application, along with credible data crucial for policymaking.

The importance of enforcing policies with the involvement of all stakeholders was also emphasised.

Read New helpline to fight gender violence

MNA Sabeen Ghauri, Ghazala Anjum, and Shaista reiterated the lack of implementation of laws and the need for criminal justice reforms.

Punjab Women Development Department Secretary Sumera Samad highlighted the application's role in raising awareness among GBV survivors, particularly in psycho-social counselling.

KP Commission's Amna Waheed Durrani emphasized the app's potential to break the taboo surrounding gender-based violence and change mindsets in K-P province.

Khalida Parveen Somroo from the Women Development Department Hyderabad lamented the lack of integrated data on violence against women.

Deputy Director of the Women’s Development Department Benazirabad Naseem Hasan Mastoi highlighted the integrated platform's ability to provide survivors with relevant information at their fingertips with just a click.

Balochistan Commission on the Status of Women's Zarghoona Barrech emphasized the importance of stakeholders in the province utilizing the data to make the application effective.

Shaheed expressed gratitude to the UN Trust Fund, NCSW, LUMS, and all activists involved in creating the app.

She emphasized the app's role as "a way to give a voice to the voiceless in our country" and urged stakeholders and others to consider GBV issues in the forthcoming budget session.

She pointed out that the lack of formulated rules of business and the government's failure to allocate resources are key reasons why laws are not effectively implemented.

On May 10, the advisor to the Chief Minister for Social Welfare and Women Empowerment Mashal Azam Yousafzai, announced significant strides in combating domestic violence in K-P with the establishment of a dedicated helpline.

This initiative, set to operate round the clock, aims to provide vital support to women facing domestic abuse.


Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ