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Population size: 


Number of people experiencing domestic abuse each year:

Cruelty by Husband or His Relatives" accounted for 32% of all crimes against women registered by the police in 2018 (Police registered 103,272 such cases in 2018), around 33% of women have experienced spousal violence - physical, sexual or emotional.[2]

Every 3rd woman in India faces some form of DV according to National Family Health Survey (2015-16)[3]

In India, violence experienced by heterosexual women parallels violence experienced by LBT individuals, especially in the family and marriage, with the main difference being that

violence is also directed against LBT sexual identities and practices.[4]

No research on male victims or other gender identities.

Cost of domestic abuse to the economy each year:

Estimated cost of work absenteeism related to domestic violence and abuse per annum: $880m. Estimated cost of lost economic output related to presenteeism, US$ million per annum: $1174mn (5% productivity loss).[5]

Indian women can lose an average of at least five paid work days for each incident of intimate partner violence. This fact would mean the affected woman would get 25 per cent less of her salary each time an incident of violence happens.[6]

Estimated % change due to COVID-19:

National Commission for Women: Between 23 March and 16 April 2020 - roughly the first three weeks of the lockdown - the commission received 239 complaints of domestic violence. This was a significant jump from the 123 complaints it received in the month leading up to the lockdown.[7]

NCW: registered 587 domestic violence complaints between March 23 and April 16 - a significant surge from 396 complaints received in the previous 25 days between February 27 and March 22 One in six new complaints of domestic violence was made over a relaunched WhatsApp number.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) registered an increase of at least 2.5 times in domestic violence complaints since the nationwide lockdown, according to official data.[8]

The Childline India helpline received more than 92,000 SOS calls asking for protection from abuse and violence in 11 days.[9]

Current law and policy:

Dowry Prohibition Act[10]: enacted on May 1, 1961, intended to prevent the giving or receiving of a dowry. Under the Dowry Prohibition Act, dowry includes property, goods, or money given by either party to the marriage, by the parents of either party, or by anyone else in connection with the marriage. The original text of the Dowry Prohibition Act was widely judged to be ineffective in curbing the practice of dowry. Moreover, specific forms of violence against women continued to be linked to a failure to meet dowry demands. As a result, the legislation underwent subsequent amendment. The act and relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code were further amended to protect female victims of dowry-related violence. Another layer of legal protection was provided in 2005 under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act. The Indian Penal Code was also modified in 1983 to establish specific crimes of dowry-related cruelty, dowry death, and abetment of suicide. These enactments punished violence against women by their husbands or their relatives when proof of dowry demands or dowry harassment could be shown.

The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005[11]: is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to protect women from domestic violence. It was brought into force by the Indian government from 26 October 2006. The Act provides for the first time in Indian law a definition of "domestic violence", with this definition being broad and including not only physical violence, but also other forms of violence such as emotional/verbal, sexual, and economic abuse. This law is primarily meant to provide protection to the wife or female live-in partner from domestic violence at the hands of the husband or male live-in partner or his relatives, the law also extends its protection to women living in a household such as sisters, widows or mothers.

A signatory to the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), India has a number of progressive laws that support gender equality and ending discrimination and violence against women.

The Government of India was represented at the 2013 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), where Member States committed to ending all forms of violence against women. They recognized that there is a need to address the economic and political underpinnings of violence; ensure access to justice; strengthen multi-sectoral approaches; and end harmful traditional practices that negatively impact women. Under the Sexual Harassment of Women at the Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013, the Government of India has pledged to establish 100 One Stop Crisis Centres and the creation of a 1000 Crore Nirbhaya Fund to respond to Violence against Women and Girls. More recently, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act of 2013 expands the scope of sexual and gender-based crimes against women.

In support of the Secretary General’s campaign, the United Nations in India supports the Government of India’s efforts to end violence and discrimination against women, including by increasing political and social commitment to end discrimination.

According to critics, domestic violence during the pandemic has been further allowed due to government apathy. As of 25 May 2020, there had been no statement from PM Modi on domestic violence, despite the fact that he has made regular addresses to the nation since the start of the pandemic. Similarly, there was no mention of the risk of increases in domestic violence in discussions relating to the re - allowing of sales of alcohol. The government failed to take measures that make reporting easier for lower-income women who lack access to the internet. The government has failed women who have come forwards by not providing adequate shelters or enforcing eviction orders on the perpetrators of violence. However, the High Court passed an order creating a dedicated fund to address domestic violence and designated spaces such as pharmacies and grocery shops where individuals could report domestic violence. The order also declared certain spaces as shelters homes and ordered an awareness campaign to spread awareness on this issue. Also stated that all the courtesan the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir must treat cases of domestic abuse as urgent.[12], [13]

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[1] The World Bank, (1).



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