The number of registered instances of ‘Crime against Women’ decreased in 2020. A similar trend was visible across most crimes against women and most states except for a few. However, the number of cyber crimes against women increased by around 44% in 2020.
In an earlier story, we reviewed the trends in ‘Crime Rate’ (CR) for 2020, based on NCRB’s Crime in India Report – 2020. While there was an increase in the Overall CR, it is mainly because of the increase in offences related to COVID-19 lockdown-related enforcements and crimes that are categorized as “Other” in the NCRB report.
Comparatively, many of the more traditionally important crimes saw a decline in reporting and hence a lower CR during 2020. On similar lines, in the earlier story, we observed that while the national CR related to ‘Assault on Women’ reduced in 2020, the trend is not uniform across all the states. In a few of the states, the CR relating to ‘Assault on Women’ has increased.
In this story, we look at the trends in the ‘Crimes against Women’ in 2020 and evaluate the possible impact of COVID-19 related lock downs & other measures on these crimes.
West Bengal, Odisha, Uttarakhand are among the states with an increase in Crime Rate for ‘Crimes against Women’
As per NCRB’s CII 2020 report, the CR of ‘Crimes against Women’ for 2020 was 56.5 (per lakh population), lower than the CR in 2019, when it was 62.4 per lakh population. This trend of lower CR for ‘Crimes against Women’ is visible across most of the states except for a few.
- Assam, Rajasthan & Haryana continue to be among the states with the highest CR for ‘Crimes against Women’, even in 2020. However, they are also the states which had a higher proportion of the decline in the CR compared to 2019.
- Odisha, which reported the second-highest CR with 112.9 in 2020, has witnessed an increased CR compared to 2019 when it was 103.5 per lakh population.
- Among the other states, West Bengal reported the greatest increase in the CR for ‘Crimes against Women’ with 76.2 in 2020, an increase of 12.2 compared to 2019. West Bengal is followed by Uttarakhand & Tamil Nadu.
- Among the North-eastern states, Sikkim reported an increase in the CR by 4.4.
- The erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir had a CR of 47.8 in 2019. In 2020, the UT of J&K reported a CR of 53.7 and Ladakh reported a CR of 7 per lakh population. There is also reflected in the increase of total crimes against women. In J&K state, 3069 crimes against women were registered in 2019 while in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh, the number of crimes registered in 2020 was 3405 and 9 respectively.
The CR trend for specific crimes however varies based on the crime. Here is a look at trends for a few of the major crimes against women.
Kerala, Punjab & Delhi – the major contributors towards a decline in the Crime rate of Rapes in 2020
The total number of registered rape cases in 2020 was 26.7 thousand, down from 30.6 thousand registered in 2019. This decrease is also reflected in the CR, which was 4.3 in 2020 compared to 4.9 in 2019.
Except for Chhattisgarh, most of the larger states reported a decline in CR in the case of rape. Bihar, West Bengal, Sikkim along with J&K reported a slight increase. In the rest of the States & UTs, there has been a decline in the CR for Rapes in 2020 compared to 2019. The decline is prominent in three states – Kerala, Punjab & Delhi.
- In Kerala, the reported cases of rape reduced from around 2.02 thousand in 2019 to 637 in 2019 with the crime rate reduced from 11.1 in 2019 to 3.5 in 2020.
- In the case of Punjab, the number of reported cases of rape fell from around thousand in 2019 to 500 in 2020, with the CR falling from 7.1 to 3.5 in 2020.
- Delhi has witnessed a comparatively lesser decline. In 2019, a total of 1.25 thousand cases of rape were reported which fell to 997 in 2020. The crime rate fell from 13.5 in 2019 to 10.5 in 2020.
In contrast, the incidence of rape cases in Chhattisgarh increased from 1.03 thousand in 2019 to 1.2 thousand in 2020, with a corresponding increase in CR from 7.2 in 2019 to 8.3 in 2020.
Rajasthan & UP which are among the states with a higher incidence of Rape cases has reported a slight fall in the number of registered cases of rape.
While the impact of COVID-19 & lockdown is visible from the fall in the cases of rape reported in those three states, it ought to be noted that the numbers in the NCRB represent the number of crimes reported to the police and not the actual incidence of crime. In the case of states like Kerala, the higher numbers are often attributed to better reporting in the state.
The reasons for the fall in crime rate in the case of rapes are not known- if it is due to the reduced cases due to lockdown measures or due to reduced reporting because of the lockdown and inaccessibility of the law enforcement agencies.
Increase in Cyber Crimes against women in 2020
In 2020, the total number of registered Cyber Crimes against women was 2.3 thousand compared to 1.6 thousand reported in 2019. The crime rate also doubled from 0.2 in 2019 to 0.4 per lakh population in 2020.
- The CR for cyber crimes against women in Odisha increased from 1.7 to 2.3 in 2020, and Odisha also has the highest incidence of Cybercrimes against women.
- Assam and Uttar Pradesh have also reported a higher incidence of cybercrimes in 2020.
- The increase is steeper in the case of Tamil Nadu with the CR increasing from 0.1 in 2019 to 0.5 in 2020. In the case of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana & Maharashtra, the crime rate for Cybercrimes against women has doubled in 2020 compared to the previous year.
- The trend is reversed in the case of Telangana, where the CR for cyber crimes against women fell from 0.4 in 2019 to 0.2 in 2020.
Close to 70% of the Cyber Crimes against women relate to ‘Publishing of Transmitting of Sexually Explicit Material.’ In the case of Assam & Odisha, there is a higher incidence of other cyber crimes like – blackmailing, defamation, morphing, fake profile, etc.
Increase in the Crime rate for ‘Child Rape’ in 2020, especially in Kerala
The overall CR in the case of ‘Sexual offences against girl child’ has marginally reduced from 7.1 in 2019 to 7 in 2020. However, there is an increase in the CR and incidence of Child Rape (girl Child) in 2020. The crime rate for Child Rape increased from 4.0 in 2019 to 4.2 per lakh population in 2020. This increase is largely driven by the increase in the CR of such cases in Kerala. In 2019, the incidence of crime under this category was 67 and the crime rate was 0.4 per lakh population. However, in 2020, there is an increase in the incidence of Crime reported to 1.2 thousand cases and an increase of the crime rate to 6.8 per lakh population. In other words, the total number of registered cases of ‘child rape’ increased by almost 17 times in Kerala between 2019 & 2020.
Uttarakhand & Tamil Nadu have also reported a comparatively higher number of cases in 2020 than in 2019. The other major states to report an increase in 2020 compared to 2019 include – Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Telangana, Gujarat, etc.
Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh & Maharashtra reported a lower number of child rape cases compared to 2019 but continue to report higher numbers than other states in 2020.
Crimes rates for traditionally prominent crimes against women saw a decline in 2020
In the earlier story, we had highlighted that while the CR for ‘Assault on Women’ has marginally declined, there were variations across the states. NCRB data also shows that there is a decline in other traditionally prominent crimes against women during the year 2020.
- The CR in the case of dowry deaths remained constant at 1.1 in both 2019 & 2020, with a marginal fall in the incidence. There is a slight fall in CR for Bihar & Uttar Pradesh, which reported the highest number of dowry deaths.
- The crime rate in the case of ‘Cruelty by Husband & relatives’ reduced from 19.3 in 2019 to 17 in 2020. The crime rate in the states with higher numbers like – Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana & Telangana reduced in 2020.
- The crime rate for ‘Kidnapping & Abduction of Women’ fell from 11.2 in 2019 to 9.5 in 2020, with a fall across major states like– Delhi, Assam, Bihar & Haryana, which had a higher CR in 2019.
- The crime rate for Dowry-related crimes also fell from 2.0 in 2019 to 1.6 in 2020. The CR in the states with higher numbers like – Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh decreased in 2020.
Overall, the crime rate for most of the crimes against women has reduced in 2020, not only at the national level but also across some of the large states while there are certain exceptions like Cybercrimes.
As highlighted earlier in the story, it is not clear if the fall in the crime rate is due to an actual reduction in the incidence of crimes against women because of lockdowns and other related measures.
Featured Image: Crimes against Women in 2020