India: More Women Reporting Violent Crime

Over the past 18 years, reporting of violent crime against women in India has significantly increased. New research shows that this is due not to higher crime levels, but instead to increased levels of reporting the crime.

Researchers point to a 1993 constitutional amendment that requires local councils to reserve one third of the positions for women. After the amendment, the level of reported crimes against women, such as rape and sexual harassment, rose by an average of 44 percent.

Researchers discovered that since women were playing a more active role in village and district councils, female victims of violence felt more comfortable reporting the crime. Additionally, with increased female presence, the police were more likely to open a case concerning violence against women. Since the amendment, women have reported greater approval of working with the police. This increase in reporting is a significant gain for India, where it is believed that around 80 percent of crime goes unreported.

Compiled from: Indian Women Now Reporting More Violent Crime, Study ShowsIGWG (4 September 2011).