Innovations in Criminal Law Against Abuse of Women Sri Lankan Perspective

M. A. D. S. J. S. Niriella


In Sri Lanka, women are subjected to violence in a range of contexts, includingphysical, sexual, psychological and economic abuse. It takes place both outside andinside the home which results in physical and emotional pain.. In considering thewomen's physical security, Sri Lanka represents the group that „lacks physical security‟.Being a member of State to the international and regional instruments in preventing anderadicating violence against women, Sri Lanka has introduced some penal laws toensure women‟s protection. However, the protection of their rights in the criminaljustice process and assistance provided to them are issues which are not addressedadequately.

This paper critically evaluates the developments in substantive and proceduralcriminal laws in Sri Lanka. Further, the prevalence of the problem, types of violencethat Sri Lankan women are being subjected to with its consequences, the internationaljurisprudence and the extent to which the penal laws should be further modified in orderto protect women from abuse will be discussed. This research is based on both libraryand fields research which involves reviewing of publications and interviews withrelevant authorities.

This study found that lacking a reliable mechanism for maintaining crimestatistics and data relating to violence against women, absence of effective substantiveand procedural criminal laws that aligned with international and regional standards topunish the perpetrators, lack of proper system of rehabilitation and assistance forvictims have aggravated the situation and led to serious social problems such as anincrease in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases, sexual exploitation of women,unwanted pregnancies and psychological harms.

Key words: Criminal law, Sexual abuse, Domestic violence, Trafficking, Sri Lanka

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