When Maneka Gandhi, minister of women and child development, presented the latest data on domestic violence to the lower house of Parliament earlier this month, the numbers looked promising.
“The number of cases registered under Domestic Violence Act, 2005 has gone down over the past three years,” said a March 13, 2015 release from the Press Information Bureau, based on Gandhi’s written statement to the Lok Sabha that day. “As per the provisional data of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) which is available up to 2014, the number of such cases registered were 531 in 2014, 4204 in 2013 and 16,351 in 2012.”
The reality, as FactChecker found, appears to be the opposite: the limited data available indicate domestic violence might be soaring.
Let’s begin with what appears to be a remarkable 74% decline in domestic violence over a year, from 2012 to 2013.
Here’s how it happened: a quick check of the data by FactChecker reveals that most of India’s 35 states and union territories have simply not released data to the NCRB.
Domestic violence in 2013 is low because 17 of 34 states and union territories didn't release any data. Among them were many large states including Maharashtra, Gujarat and Bihar.
When it is reported, as we said, domestic violence appears to be sky-rocketing.
Among states that released data, former Andhra Pradesh accounted for the highest number of cases registered under the Domestic Violence Act: 3,758 in 2013, a 75% increase from 2012 (2,150 cases).
Kerala comes second with 142 cases in 2013, a 21% increase from 2012 (117 cases).
The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was enacted in 2005 and implemented in 2007. It comes under civil law and protects women from physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economic abuse.
The Act covers women involved in a domestic relationship, which is defined as marriage, blood relationship, adoption and relationships in the nature of marriage (including victims of legally invalid marriages, bigamous marriages etc.)
Below is a table showing which states have—and which states haven't—released data on cases under the Domestic Violence Act.
With additional research by Trisha Jalan, an intern with FactChecker.
Image Credit: Flickr/Ravages