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Prabhavati Akashi*

18-July-2011 18:46 IST

Personal security is central to every person’s well-being. Crime or the fear of crime can greatly undermine a person’s sense of security. In most of the civil societies women and girls, being the victims in the vast majority of certain reported crimes, live under a low sense of security. Gender based violence is the primary threat to women’s personal security. The root of the problem lies in attitudes, behaviours and institutions that sustain unequal power relations between men and women, and render women and girls ‘acceptable targets’ for violence and abuse.

What are the Crimes against Women? Although Women may be victims of any of the general crimes such as ‘Murder’, ‘Robbery’, ‘Cheating’, etc, only the crimes which are directed specifically against Women are characterised as ‘Crimes Against Women’. Various new legislations have been brought and amendments have been made in existing laws with a view to handle these crimes effectively. These are broadly classified under two categories.

The Crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC)

  • Rape (Sec. 376 IPC)
  • Kidnapping & Abduction for specified purposes (Sec. 363 - 373 IPC)
  • Homicide for Dowry, Dowry Deaths or their attempts (Sec. 302/304-B IPC)
  • Torture - both mental and physical (Sec. 498-A IPC)
  • Molestation (Sec. 354 IPC)
  • Sexual Harassment (Sec. 509 IPC)
  • Importation of girls (upto 21 years of age) (Sec. 366-B IPC)

The Crimes under the Special & Local Laws (SLL) Although all laws are not gender specific, the provisions of law affecting women significantly have been reviewed periodically and amendments carried out to keep pace with the emerging requirements. The gender specific laws for which crime statistics are recorded throughout the country are -

  • Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956
  • Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961
  • Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986
  • Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987

Rising Trend in Crimes against Women A total of 2,03,804 incidents of crime against women (both under IPC and SLL) were reported in the country during 2009 as compared to 1,95,856 during 2008 recording an increase of 4.1% during 2009. These crimes have continuously increased during 2005 - 2009 with 1,55,553 in 2005, 1,64,765 cases in 2006, 1,85,312 cases in 2007, 1,95,856 cases in 2008 and 2,03,804 cases in 2009.

Following is the graph showing the increasing trend in crimes committed against women:

While in 1980 about 5000 rape cases were registered from across the country, in 2009 the cases increased more than four times with the figures touching 21397. This could be not only due to increase in the number of cases but also due to increase in the number of cases registered. In 94% of cases in 2009 the charge sheets were filed. However, the conviction rate was only 27 %. There were 21,413 victims of rape out of 21,397 reported rape cases in the country. 11.5% (2,470) of the total victims of rape were girls under 15 years of age, while 15.6% (2,912) were teenage girls (15-18 years). 59.8% (12,812) were women in the age-group 18-30 years. 3,124 victims (14.6%) were in the age-group of 30-50 years while 0.4% (95) were over 50 years of age.

Following is the record of other crimes against women in 2009:

Sr. No.





RATE (%)



RATE (%)





































( Source: NCRB, based on information obtained from State/U.T. Police)

What needs to be done? The growing trend in crime against women should be a cause of concern not only for the governments but also for each and every citizen of the country. The Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Krishna Tirath, has recently issued a statement expressing grave concern over the trend. She said:

“I personally think that two steps are most urgently needed. First, FIR in all cases should be immediately recorded. Any delay, dilatory tactics, soft paddling or procrastination must invite exemplary penal action. For instance any police official not writing FIR in the cases of atrocities against women must be suspended forthwith. Secondly, all cases of rape must be tried through fast track courts i.e. hearing must be on day to day basis. Instant redressals of cases on day to day basis at Judicial and Administrative level will have telling effect and improve environment in favour of women providing them due security and status. This needs to be administratively followed and if necessary legally pursued.”

Guidelines to curb increase in Crime Against Women since Law and Order is a State subject the Ministry of Home Affairs has also been issuing advisories from time to time to help state machineries to curb Crime against Women. Crime prone areas should be identified and a mechanism be put in place to monitor infractions in schools/colleges for ensuring safety and security of female students. Women police officers in adequate number fully equipped with policing infrastructure may be posted in such areas. Following are the guidelines issued by the government:

  • There should be no delay whatsoever in registration of FIR in all cases of crime against women.
  • All out efforts should be made to apprehend all the accused named in the FIR immediately so as to generate confidence in the victims and their family members.

  • Cases should be thoroughly investigated and charge sheets against the accused persons should be filed within three months from the date of occurrence, without compromising on the quality of investigation. The medical examination of rape victims should be conducted without delay.

  • Help-line numbers of the crime against women cells should be exhibited prominently in hospitals/schools/colleges premises, and in other suitable places.

  • Women police cells in the police stations and exclusive women police stations should be set up as needed.
  • Police officials charged with the responsibility of protecting women should be sensitized adequately.
  • Police personnel should be trained adequately in special laws dealing with atrocities against women.

  • Enforcement aspect should be emphasized adequately so as to streamline it.

  • Women police officials in the State Police Force should be recruited widely.

  • Close coordination between the police and the NGOs dealing with the interests of women may be ensured.

  • The local police should arrange for patrolling in the affected areas and more especially in the locality of the weaker sections of the society. Periodic visits by DM & SP will create a sense of safety and security among these sections of the people.

  • Counseling through professional counselors is required for victims as well as her family to overcome the trauma of the crime.

  • The effectiveness of schemes developed for welfare and rehabilitation of women who have been victimized should be improved.

The above provisions indeed need to be properly implemented to ensure a greater sense of security for women. It is, therefore, the prime duty of every citizen not only to be aware of the existing provisions but also to create more awareness amongst the vulnerable sections, both in urban as well rural areas. (PIB Features)

*Director(M & C), Press Information Bureau, New Delhi

PRA/VN SS-107/SF-107/18.07.2011



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