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Population Size:

163,05 million.[1] 50.6% are male, 49.4% are female.

Number of People Experiencing Domestic Abuse Each Year:

2014: 53% of women reported having experienced domestic violence.[2]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of Domestic Abuse to the Economy Each Year:

2009-2017: USD $ 2.3billion.[3]

2010: USD $2 billion or 2.10% of gross domestic product (‘GDP’).[4]

Estimated % Change due to COVID-19:

50% increase in the number of reports of domestic violence in refugee camps in Bangladesh.[5]

81% of Myanmar refugees had faced attacks from relatives.[6]

Current Law and Policy:

Domestic abuse has not been discussed by the Bangladeshi government since the introduction of the Domestic Violence Act in 2010. However, this legislation has failed to properly address the issue and it remains a serious problem in the country. A 2015 survey found that around 66% of all women in the country have experienced gender-based violence and over 72% of married women have experienced domestic abuse from their husbands.

The Bangladeshi government has introduced a number of legislative reforms and national strategies to reduce gender-based violence. In fact, it was commended for doing so by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in 2016. For instance, the country’s Seventh National Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), involves the promotion of women’s rights and the implementation and maintenance of The National Action Plan to Prevent Violence Against Women and Children in the period from 2013-2025. However, a joint NGO submission to the UN Human Rights Committee in 2017 stated that many of the laws aimed at protecting Bangladeshi women remain largely unimplemented. This is mostly due to societal and cultural attitudes, which contribute to high levels of violence, the negative stereotyping of victims and a serious lack of reporting.

Although the government has shown no interest in reforming domestic violence legislation so far, a sharp increase in the levels of violence experienced by women this year might put the topic back on the national agenda. Following Cyclone Amphan and the COVID-19 lockdown, many Bangladeshi families have been subjected to greater food insecurity and financial pressure, which has resulted in a significant rise in the levels of domestic abuse across the country. This increase has been widely reported in the national press and may put pressure on the Bangladeshi government to address the issue in future.

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[1] The World Bank, (1).

[2] OECD, (108). [3] Care International, (88), 13.

[4] ibid, 17.

[5] N. Smith and S. Uddin, “Pandemic has led to Rise in Rohingya Domestic Abuse Cases, Charity Warns”, (, 11 June 2020).

[6] A. Islam, “COVID-19 Lockdown Increases Domestic Violence in Bangladesh”, (, 12 May 2020).

Further Reading

[1] Sisters for Change, “Our Work in Bangladesh”, (

[2] United Kingdom Home Office, “Country Policy and Information Note – Bangladesh: Women Fearing Gender-Based Violence”, (2020), Note.

[3] International Federation for Human Rights, World Organisation Against Torture, Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances, Asian Legal Resource Centre, Forum for Human Rights and Development, Odhikar and Mayer Dak, “Alternative Report to the UN Human Rights Committee on Bangladesh”, (2017), Joint Report.

[4] A. Alif, “MJF: 4,249 Women Subjected to Domestic Violence during the Lockdown”, (, 6 May 2020).

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