A bill regarding violence against women drafted by the National Council for Women (NCW) was published on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Hesham Qandil delegated the NCW to draft a bill resisting violence against women during a meeting held between NCW head Mervat Al-Tellawi and cabinet ministers in mid-February.
The bill was drafted by the NCW’s legislative committee, said Abeer Abul Ella, head of the council’s media office. She added that civil society organisations were consulted about the contents of the draft law before submitting it to the cabinet and the Ministry of Justice on 17 March.
The draft law tackles five main issues, reported state-owned news agency MENA. The first part defines violence against women. Al-Tellawi told MENA that the second part tackles crimes of sexual violence against women. Such crimes include rape, indecent assault, harassment, domestic violence, disinheritance and depriving women of their right to education.
The proposed law also incriminates those who deprive women of work, equal wages and equal promotion opportunities.
The third part, stated Al-Tellawi, deals with crimes of sexual abuse and moral corruption. According to the proposed law, female sexual abuse and moral violations are incriminated. The law also incriminates indecent behaviour such as inappropriately abusing women’s bodies to make monetary profits.
The fourth part of the draft law reportedly protects victims and witnesses of violence against women. The law states that the government is tasked with protecting the victims, the witnesses and the experts who can prove the crime. It is also responsible for keeping all the information it attains confidential to protect the victim’s identity.
The final part states that the state is responsible for supporting and encouraging civil society organisations which aim at raising awareness of violence or rehabilitating victims and providing them with legal advocacy.
The draft law is yet to be reviewed and voted on by the Shura Council.
The NCW was recently criticised by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements for approving the United Nations Declaration on Violence against Women. The declaration was issued during the UN’s 57th Commission on the Status of Women. Islamist movements stated that the declaration breached Islamic Shari’a.