Women’s rights advocate and previous head Ted Baillieu is pushing to have the Indian practice of dowry banned in Victoria claiming that it prompts household tortures and the abuse of ladies. Mr. Baillieu tabled a request in State Parliament in April calling for alterations to family viciousness laws. Financial ill-use was made illicit under the Family Violence Act in 2008, however campaigners additionally need a particular boycott on the share, which would bring state law into line with Indian law.
The move has brought about profound fractures inside the state's 190,000-in number Indian group. Manjula O'connor, an Indian-born therapist and research fellow at Melbourne University, said the practice must be prohibited.
Dr O'Connor said through her private practice she saw many women who had suffered dowry-related domestic violence. ''Paying a dowry belittles the woman, it reinforces their role as inferior in the relationship and it makes the marriage an economic transaction,'' she said. Sometimes a man's family was unhappy with the amount paid and this could trigger violence and abuse against his wife or in-laws.
Giving and receiving of dowry is a centuries-old tradition in India where the bride's parents give gifts of cash, clothes and jewellery to the groom's family. It has been illegal in India since 1961 but is still widely practised in arranged marriages. Mr Baillieu was contacted by Dr O'Connor when he was premier.
''Dowry is clearly part of the issue faced by these women,'' he said. Dr O'Connor will discuss the issue with state Attorney-General Robert Clark. Mr Baillieu said the matter may be referred to the Victorian Law Reform Commission. India's National Crimes Bureau reported that 8233 women died in 2012 due to dowry-related crimes. Many others took their own lives.
Baillieu said, "It's a historic and cultural tradition but in India they have seen fit to ban dowry, but I don't think that's enforced."
He further said, "What we're fundamentally talking about is family violence, and family violence has many causes and we have to do whatever we can to stamp it out. Anybody who commits family violence is committing a crime and we need to get that to be part of our cultural understanding," he said.
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