India set to install panic buttons on buses to combat sexual assault

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Friday, May 27, 2016

The Indian Government announced on Wednesday they will issue a notification to ensure all buses are fitted with panic buttons to prevent sex-related violence occurring on buses in India. The motion was introduced by Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. Installation of the buttons is set to become mandatory on June 2.

Tests are under way on 20 buses running from Rajasthan to New Delhi. Buses are to have panic buttons, a GPS-enabled vehicle tracking device, and CCTV cameras. The new buttons are located at the front doors and when pressed, a police control room has the ability to view live footage recorded inside the bus.

Last month, the government announced that as of 2017, mobile phones can't be sold in India without a panic button. With the press of a single key, the panic button alerts emergency services that assistance is required.

Since a fatal sexual assault three and a half years ago on a bus in New Delhi, accompanied by increased rates of sexual assault, the government has been pressured to help women avoid the dangers of sexual assault. The bus sexual assault three and a half years ago resulted in India-wide protests, and laws regarding sexual assault were overhauled.

According to India's National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2014 New Delhi reported 1,813 rapes, more than any other Indian city. In more than 80% of rapes across India, the victim knew the rapist. In data from 2013, the rapists in 539 cases were parents, in 2,315 cases other relatives.

In 2012 the NCRB said the country had 24,923 reported rapes. However, this number grew over the following year, with 2013 seeing 33,707 reported.

In 2013, NCRB said New Delhi saw 1,636 rapes reported, with an Indian average of 92 women per day. The New Delhi cases alone account for more than four per day.


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