India: Sharp Increase in Domestic Violence Reports
Wednesday, August 6, 2014 10:40 PM

Domestic violence complaints have increased significantly in India during the past several years. Complaint grenerally involve women experiencing severe mental and physical abuse at the hands of their spouses and in-laws, often in conjunction with dowry demands. One police station in Indian Kashmir registered nearly 600 domestic violence cases in 2013.

According to India’s National Crime Records Bureau, crimes against women rose by 26.7 percent overall in 2013. Reports of domestic violence (“cruelty by husband or his relatives”) rose 11.6 percent, from 106,627 reports in 2012 to 118,866 in 2013. Some believe greater awareness of India’s Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, enacted in 2005, has led to increased reporting of domestic violence incidents, while others argue that resistance to women’s changing role in Indian society is responsible for increased violence against women.

Despite this steep increase in domestic violence reports, conviction rates are rising at a much slower pace, increasing by only one percent between 2012 and 2013, to 16 percent of reported cases. In some regions such as Gujarat, the conviction rate has decreased to as low as 2 percent. Some attribute the disparity between reporting and conviction rates to the slow pace of the judicial system in adjudicating claims.

Compiled from: Syed, Farzana, No let up in domestic violence against women in Kashmir, Kashmir Times (Aug. 3, 2014); Gujarat: Domestic Violence Goes Up, Conviction Rate Falls, Outlook (July 7, 2014); Madaan, Neha, Rise in domestic violence cases, The Times of India (Feb. 19, 2014); Crime in India – 2013: Crime against women, National Crime Records Bureau (2014).