Pioneers speak out about protecting women’s rights

Sheffield Hallam University Chancellor Helena Kennedy QC and criminology academic Dr Sunita Toor will take centre stage when they give a talk about justice for women at a high profile literary festival in London.

Baroness Kennedy, who was installed as Chancellor of the University last July, will be speaking about ‘how justice fails women’ following publication of her latest book Eve Was Shamed at the Jaipur Literature Festival event at the British Library on June 14 and 15.

The session, which focuses on the treatment of women in the legal system, will involve Baroness Kennedy, a renowned human rights lawyer, along with academic and women’s rights activist Dr Sunita Toor and international lawyer Avi Singh in conversation with writer Bee Rowlatt.

Dr Toor, a principal lecturer in criminology at Sheffield Hallam University, leads the Justice for Her project within the Helena Kennedy Centre for International Justice.

The project is a collaborative effort with the Indian police in four states to change the lives of female victims of violence in India.


The aim is to improve access to justice, rights and protection for victims of violent crimes such as rape and assault in the states of Delhi, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab, through a specialist training programme for police officers.

Over the last three years Dr Toor and her team have been visiting India and delivering training to senior police officers around gender violence, victimisation and marginalisation. The initial aim was to convince the right people that change needed to happen.

Such has been the success of the project, the training, which includes how to deal with victims of violence, has been included in the curriculum for all new police recruits in those states.

It means tens of thousands of police officers are now being trained in gender rights and victimisation every year – and the resulting impact on support for women and girls who come to the police having been the victim of violent crimes represents not just a significant change, but a cultural shift.

Dr Toor, who also spoke about the work of Justice for Her at the Jaipur Literature Festival in India in January said: “It’s a privilege to be sharing a platform with the inspirational Helena Kennedy who has been an avid support of Justice For Her and is a tremendous role model for the next generation of activists fighting to combat gender-based violence. We’re on a mission so come join the debate.”

The panel event takes place on Saturday June 15 at the British Library. Tickets are available at:https://www.bl.uk/events/zee-jaipur-literature-festival-2019

It is the sixth year the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival has returned to London for a weekend to celebrate ‘books, creativity and dialogue, creative diversity and varied intellectual discourse’.

Sheffield Hallam University is helping to build stronger communities around the world. Using research, education and partnerships Sheffield Hallam is working to create a more equal, fair and safe society.

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