The nation-wide outrage over the brutal gang rape and subsequent death of the physiotherapy intern in India’s very own capital city, New Delhi was the driving force behind the passing of the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013. It has been known all over as one of the most concrete steps taken by the Indian government to curb violence against women. Major amendments by the Act, not only widen the ambit of certain offences but also recognise new offences like acid attacks which earlier lacked a specific provision and definition in the Code. The Act is deemed to be one of the most important changes that have been made in the existing criminal laws namely the Indian Penal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Indian Evidence Act.
Sex related offences are a universal phenomena, which take place in every society in different circumstances and social settings. It may take the form of sexual violence, which sometimes cause severe and irreparable damage to the physical and mental health of the victims. Physical injury includes an increased risk of a range of sexual and reproductive health problems. Its impact on mental health can be equally serious as that of physical injury. Sexual offences, when they assume the form of sexual violence may lead to murder, suicide, acute depression, etc. of victims. It entirely disturbs the social well being of the victims because of stigmatisation and the consequential loss of status in their families and the neighbourhood. Theredore, it is vital that measures are introduced to end India’s tolerance of violence against women and girls. Policy and legal reform are needed to address the pervasive and damaging stereotypes surrounding rape. However, as the author has aptly put it, we must look beyond the natural human desire for retributive justice to seek comprehensive solutions, including sex-offender treatment programmes and restorative justice approaches that provide a true and lasting legacy of change.