Crime against women  – on the rise in Bengaluru

Crime against women – on the rise in Bengaluru

Crime against women is on the rise in the city of Bengaluru.  More women are registering cases with the Karnataka State Commission for Women.  But no tough action is being taken.

Bengaluru : Crime against women :

When it comes to crimes against women, the other parts of the State are not lagging behind the capital, which stood second after Delhi in the NCRB report released recently.

In the last  years the number of crimes against women — atrocities, outraging the modesty of women, murder, chain snatching, etc. — has doubled in Karnataka and especially in Bengaluru.

The increased awareness among women and the liberal filing of cases by the police are the main reasons for increase in the number of cases in the last years.

While there was an increase in the number of cases being reported due to awareness campaigns about women’s safety, adequate  measures are not being taken to curb the menace.  

What is crime against women :

Common forms of violence against women in India include acts such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, and murder. In order to be considered violence against women, the act must be committed solely because the victim is female.

Voice against women :

Violence/crime against women (also known as gender-based violence and sexual and gender-based violence are violent acts primarily or exclusively committed against women and girls.

Often considered a form of hate crime this type of violence is gender-based, meaning that the acts of violence are committed against women and girls expressly because they are female.

The UN Declaration of the Elimination of violence against Women states, “violence against women is a manifestation of historically unequal power relations between men and women” and “violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men.

Categories of crime against women :

Crime or Violence against women can fit into several broad categories. These include violence carried out by “individuals” as well as “states”. Some of the forms of violence perpetrated by individuals are: rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, reproductive coercion, female infanticide, parental sex selection, obstetric violence and mob violence.

It also includes harmful customary or traditional practices such as honor killings, dowry violence, female genital mutation, marriage by abduction and forced marriage.   

Some forms of violence are perpetrated or condoned by certain states  such as ware rape, sexual violence and sexual slavery during conflict; forced sterilization, forced abortion,  violence by the police and authoritative personnel; stoning and flogging.  

Many forms of crime against women such as trafficking in women and forced prostitution are often perpetrated by organized criminal networks.

Authority to safeguard women against crime :

The responsibility of safeguarding the women’s rights is with the Karnataka State Commission for Women (KSCW) a government appointed body housed in Cauvery Bhavan in Bengaluru city.

The women who arrive at the office of the Commission are from all over the State of Karnataka, including from the outskirts of Bengaluru to places like Raichur, Kalburgi and Belgavi.

Problems at KSCW :

The department lacks man power.  It is difficult for common people to get speedy justice from the KSCW.  The body has no provision to take up effective action.  Currently, the KSCW can direct police officers to register an FIR or initiative action but it has no provisions that make these directives binding.

According to some the KSCW has not been able to take any action on any case so far.  They are functioning just like a counseling centre.  What KSCW needs is more statutory powers to take action. 

There is a governing body of the KSCW to oversee the cases in Bengaluru.  It convenes once in every 3 months or when there is an immediate issue.

What falls under Crime against women :

Rape, attempt to rape, kidnapping, dowry-related killing or harassment, assault to outrage or insult a woman’s “modesty,” sexual harassment, voyeurism, domestic violence, abetment to suicide, trafficking of women, etc. are classified as crimes against women under the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

While there is adequate legislation on violence against woman, implementation is still lagging behind. The rate of conviction in cases of sexual violence and rape is only around 16.8% when compared to the national rate of 25.5% conviction in rape cases.

KSCW Proposal :

The proposal of KSCW to the government includes addressing of problems of acid attack victims, separate coach for the Metro travelers, a dedicated patrolling wing comprising women, providing incinerators at hostels and hospitals. 

The proposal also includes regulation of objectionable content in television serials and films, cyber-crime etc. 

Lack of co-ordination :

The KSCW is content there is greater awareness among women about their rights, there is a dissatisfaction among the public about how the cases are handled. 

The lack of co-ordination among different agencies in addressing the issues makes the situation very grave for the survivors of crime/violence.

During  2018-19, the KSCW received about 2696 complaints on different grounds f which about 973 cases are pending. 

Datas show that crime and incidence of violence against women have entered into the elite working class.  Many software techies and qualified professionals are emerging as victims.

Different laws to protect women against crime :

There are adequate legislations which includes :

  • The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2006 –  this act addresses all forms of domestic violence.
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013 –  this act address sexual harassment at the workplace and lays down a clear procedure for filing complaints with an Internal Complaints Committee.
  • The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2013 – this act brought about a wide range of criminal law reforms to make the offence of rape and sexual assault broader, to include aggravated forms of sexual assault and to recognize sexual violence in a comprehensive manner.

Implementation of the law :

There are various acts to protect women but still the cases are increasing.  The implementation of the law is a big problem.  The institutions and authorities implementing these laws have not understood the nature of violence and discrimination faced by women.

Need of the hour :

Landmark incidents like the Nirbhaya case and recommendations of the Justice Verma Committee have helped instill confidence in women.

At the same time, many measures are being taken by the Central and State Governments like setting up fast track courts for these cases.  But poor redressal mechanism is a cause of worry. 

Presently more and more women are coming forward to report about the crime, redressal mechanism in the city has not been satisfactory.  

The need of the hour is to strengthen by giving additional infrastructure, human power and sensitization among the workers.

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