Crimes Against Women

NCRB Data – crimes against women have more than doubled over the past 10 years – physical as well as mental cruelty – 95% cases, offender is known to victim – Delhi has the highest rate of crimes against women overall.

Genital Mutilation

  • Commonly called khatna and practised mostly by muslims
  • The custom is inflicted on young girls, when they are six or seven-year old.
  • Carried out mostly by untrained midwives, it involves cutting off the clitoral hood, in the belief that it will curb a women’s sexual drive.
  • Banned in 24 African countries + UK + US
  • In December 2012, the UNGA adopted a unanimous resolution to eliminate the practice.

 

Provisions in India

  • Section 320, 323, 324, 325 of IPC related to causing grievous hurt aim to curb such practises.
  • Various sections of POSCO ACT also aim to abolish violent acts like FGM
  • Goal 5 of SDGs also calls for elimination of all harmful practices like FGM

 

To end such forms of violence against women awareness generation is required with the help of NGOs and by using medical explanation of harmful effects of such physical practices.


Domestic Violence Act

  • Women & Men in India 2015 ReportDomestic violence shares highest share in crime against women
  • Women face most risks from their families – 36% of all cases – cruelty by husband and relatives
  • 24 % – assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty

 

Recent Changes in Domestic Violence Act 

  • Definition of Domestic Violence has been modified – includes actual abuse or threat of abuse i.e. physical,
  • sexual, verbal, emotional or economic
  • Widened the scope of term WOMEN to cover live in partners, wives, sisters, widows, mothers & single women
  • Right to reside in the matrimonial or shared household, whether or not she has any rights in the household
  • Court can pass protection orders to prevent the abuser from committing an act of domestic violence like preventing the abuser to enter a place frequented by the abused
  • Appointment of protection officers and NGOs to provide assistance, legal aid and safe Shelter
  • One year maximum imprisonment and Rs. 20,000 each or both
  • Non-compliance or discharge of duties by the protection officer is also sought to be made an offence with similar punishment

The Supreme Court has struck down the words “adult male” from the pertinent provision in the DV Act to lay down that a woman can also file a complaint against another woman, accusing her of domestic violence. It makes DV gender neutral & in accordance with art 14 of Indian constitution. However, there are concerns from some corners that it would encourage husbands to file counter cases against their wives through their mothers or sisters.

domestic-violence-act

Reasons for domestic violence 

  • More income of a working woman than her partner especially in urban areas
  • Violence against young widows especially in rural areas – cursed for their husband’s death
  • Orthodox & Patriarchal mindset- male domination and control over women
  • Demand for dowry; infertility or desire for male child; alcoholism

 

Criticism/Misuse of the Domestic Violence Act 

  • Gender biased and not gender neutral- Increasing number of false cases.
  • Excludes abuses pertaining to martial rape
  • Verbal abuse & mental harassment- scope of subjective interpretation
  • Lack of awareness esp. in rural areas where it is most needed
  • Judicial system resorting to mediation and counselling even in cases of extreme abuse
  • Insufficient budgetary allocation to States- could not assign Protection Officers

 

Way forward 

  • Faster delivery of cases
  • PRIs + NGOs relating to women empowerment – should play a progressive role
  • More awareness drive esp. in rural areas
  • Women should be financially empowered through various government schemes and programmes

 


Cybercrime Against Women

Offences committed against people with a criminal motive to cause physical or mental harm using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet and mobile phones.

  • Harassment via E-Mails
  • Cyber-Stalking
  • Dissemination of Obscene Material
  • E-Mail Spoofing
  • Cyber Pornography

 

Issues/ Challenges 

  • Cyber- crimes against women are rising at alarming rate
  • Issues specifically regarding women are not addressed in the IT Act 2000
  • IT Act 2000 does not mention typical cybercrimes like cyber staking, morphing & email spoofing as offences
  • Cases of online harassment against women are not maintained by the government
  • Social networking sites are being used to circulate offensive content
  • Issues of revenge-porn, distribution of non-consensual photography often involving nudity & sex
  • social media is used by traffickers to sell people whose photographs they share, without their consent

 

Steps taken by the Government 

  • Cyber Crime Cells have been set up in States & UTs for reporting & investigation
  • Cyber forensic training & investigation labs have been setup for training of Law Enforcement & Judiciary
  • Awareness & training programmes on Cyber Laws and Cybercrimes for judicial officers
  • Scheme for Universalisation of 24 hours Women Helpline has been approved

 

Other initiatives for Women safety & empowerment – Pink initiative of Kerala Gov, Tejaswini Project of Jharkhand Gov. Kanyashree Prakalpa Scheme of West Bengal government.


Draft National Policy on Women 2016

The concept of women empowerment has seen changes, from being recipients of welfare benefits to the need to engage them in the development process

  • Recognition for women’s reproductive rights by shifting focus from female sterilization to male sterilization
  • A mission mode approach for literacy amongst women
  • Health including food security and nutrition + Ensuring access to safe drinking water & sanitation
  • Relation between gender and poverty dynamics will be addressed
  • Holistic Efforts to address all forms of violence against women from home to workplace
  • Engaging men & boys in awareness generation programmes
  • Gender parity in mass media and greater participation in sports
  • A review of the personal and customary laws in accordance with the Constitutional provisions
  • A comprehensive social protection mechanism for single women including widows separated, divorced, never-married and deserted women
  • Policies for environment conservation & restoration, and disaster management will compulsorily incorporate gender

 

Concerns 

  • Creating ecosystem for women to participate in entrepreneurial activities, take up decision-making roles and leadership in all sectors of the economy
  • Setting up Gender Budgeting Cells set up in Ministries, state government Departments, Panchayats and urban local bodies to conduct in-house gender audit of requisite policies, programs and schemes

 

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