According to the National Crime Record Bureau’s latest report, crimes against women have increased by about 11 percent from 2019 to 2020.
The crimes against women rose from 3,069 cases in 2019 to 3,414 in 2020 showing an increase of 11 percent notwithstanding a decline of 8.3 percent such cases at the national level.
Majority of cases under crime against women under Indian Penal Code (IPC) or Special Local Laws (SLL) were registered under ‘Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives’, ‘Assault on Women with Intent to Outrage her Modesty’, ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ and ‘Rape’, etc.
A total of 247 rape cases were reported in Jammu & Kashmir and two in Ladakh in 2020 (from January 1 to December 31). The victims included four girls below the age of 18 years. In majority cases, the rape victims were in the age group of 18 to 30 years (180 cases), followed by 30-45 years (55 cases) and 45-60 years (nine cases), the report says.
Ever since the covid-19 pandemic confined people to their homes, there has been an increase in the violence against the fairer gender . One can say, looking in the society and news which we come across, the incidences have been far higher.
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 which came into effect in October 2006 defines domestic violence as any act, omission or commission that causes injury to a woman’s physical or mental health and includes specific forms of violence such as physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse. The Act seeks to provide relief to women in the form of protection order, residence order, monetary relief, custody order and compensation orders. Breach of any protection order is a criminal offence. Authorities needed to act fast. While data is lacking regarding it, there are not means for registering the complaints at the first place either.
It is also not just confined to domestic violence but there have been increased incidents of rape, harassment and other such undesirable acts against women.
It is not the case that anticipation or forewarning against the rise were not there. Most rapes are perpetrated by people known to the victim but there are hardly befitting punishments. Most of the rapes are not reported for the reasons well known and also specifically documented. One does not know exactly how many women were raped or trafficked? One does not know how many were married forcibly and under-aged in desperation to see them safe and fed.
Orderly creation of a support infrastructure like easy access helplines, secure shelter services with enabling cultures and sensitisation of people against violence needed to be created.