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Since the beginning of this year, domestic violence in India has gone out of control. Many women have become victims because of their woes in marriage and relationships with family and loved ones. This year alone, the number of domestic violence complaints received by the National Commission for Women has doubled, reaching 239 on April 16 alone. Domestic violence is said to be more rampant in Indian culture than it is in any other country in the world. It is a countrywide issue for women but the center received the highest number of complaints from New Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and Haryana. Many feminists claim that the Mahila Thana in Delhi has failed in its objective to stop domestic violence. One reason for its failure that they say is low conviction rates. A recent study here in India of domestic violence cases revealed a different story.
There are many reasons for domestic violence. Since women and girls are the biggest victims of domestic violence, the government should first deal with this problem carefully and in detail. Domestic violence in India continues to remain a huge issue. In fact, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), more than 3 lakh cases were reported in the country in 2014, which have increased by 9% since 2013. The number of reported cases has been increasing every year for a while now and has almost doubled from what it was in 2005 (1.83 lakh). Recently, the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) in India noted that 1 in every 3 women face emotional or physical violence at least once during their lifetime. The survey further noted that 1 in every 7 married women face domestic violence.
The first step the government has taken in order to deal with the issue of domestic violence (that is against women) is by setting up of special courts. Domestic violence cases have been heard in a special setting so that the victims can have a private and safe environment. By doing this the state has also given the victim of domestic violence more confidence to come forward and register their complaints. Moreover it has also enabled the judiciary to hear these cases more quickly. The response to this problem has been slow and inadequate.
Nevertheless, several governments have introduced policies that address domestic violence, but they have not produced the kind of broad societal shifts needed to bring an end to it. For something as pervasive as domestic violence, it will not be enough to introduce forceful laws and programs. The government will need to engage with men and women at a larger level, by changing the dialogues around gender roles and stereotypes.