The data further brings into focus the trend of rising number of complaints made to the NCW over the years. A closer look at the data from the Covid-19 pandemic phase alone shows that the number of total complaints across categories rose over 30% from around 23,700 in 2020 to over 30,800 in 2021.
As the world tried to emerge out of the shadows of the pandemic in 2022, the number of complaints remained high in keeping with the previous year’s trend and in fact rose marginally to cross the 30,900-mark.
Last year too, maximum complaints fell in three categories — to secure the right to live with dignity (31%); protection of women against domestic violence (23%); and matters of harassment of married women including for dowry (15%).
A state-wise break-up shows that 55% of the total complaints were from UP, followed by Delhi (10%) and Maharashtra (5%). In 2021 too the maximum complaints came from these three states.
On the trajectory of rising complaints over the years, NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma attributed it to enhanced outreach by the Commission through “jan sunwais” ( public hearings), focus on seeking action taken reports in a time-bound manner in cases and setting up, in addition to the existing complaints cell, a dedicated 24×7 helpline platform (7827170170) in July 2021 to encourage women facing domestic violence to come forward to report and seek assistance. “We are constantly trying to send out a message through our platform including social media to women to come forward, speak up and share their concerns,” Sharma added. Also more women are using the online complaints mechanism of the NCW.
On the way forward, Sharma said that to prevent domestic violence there is need to focus more and more on changing the patriarchal mindset by challenging stereotypes through awareness building. “While NCW conducts awareness programmes besides redressal of complaints, there is need for a nationwide outreach by stakeholders across states in campaign mode to talk about the issue and create awareness,” she added.
The NCW data reinforces the concerns raised in the Social Progress Index 2022 that analyses the performance of states and districts. The report made by Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative and released recently by the Economic Advisory Council-Prime Minister (EAC-PM) highlights that without safeguarding the personal safety of citizens, especially that of women and children who are more vulnerable to violence and abuse, social progress remains inhibited.
Drawing from the National Crime Records Bureau data for 2020 the report highlights that as far as crime against women, Assam, Odisha, Delhi, Telangana, Haryana and Rajasthan had crime rates above 90.