According to the annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released, crimes against women rose 4% in 2022 compared to 2021.

About Crimes Against Women

  • The United Nations defines a crime against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.

NCRB: Nature of Crime against Women

  • The report said 4,45,256 cases of crime against women were registered in 2022, an increase of 4% compared to 4,28,278 in 2021. 

The majority of crimes against women were of cruelty by husband or his relatives (31.4%) followed by:

  • kidnapping and abduction of women (19.2%), 
  • assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty (18.7%), and 
  • rape (7.1%).
  • Further, 13,479 cases were registered under the Dowry Prohibition Act.
  • The high crime rate is an indicator of the persistent “lower status and inequality” faced by women and girls.
  • The NCRB’s report reveals that over 4.45 lakh cases of crimes against women were registered in 2022, equivalent to nearly 51 FIRs (first information report) every hour. 
  • The rate of crimes against women per lakh population stood at 66.4 while the filing of charge sheets in such cases was pegged at 75.8. 

State/UTs crime rate: 

  • With 14,247 cases in 2022, Delhi recorded the highest rate of crimes against women in the country at 144.4 per lakh, way above the country’s average rate of 66.4.

Uttar Pradesh (65,743) registered the maximum FIRs in cases of crimes against women in 2022, followed by Maharashtra (45,331), Rajasthan (45,058), West Bengal (34,738), and Madhya Pradesh (32,765). 

  • These five states together contributed to 2,23,635 (or 50.2 percent) of the total cases lodged in India last year, according to the NCRB.

A total of 12 States and Union Territories recorded crime rates higher than the national average of 66.4. 

  • Delhi topped the list at 144.4 followed by Haryana (118.7), Telangana (117), Rajasthan (115.1), Odisha (103), Andhra Pradesh (96.2), Andaman and Nicobar Islands (93.7), Kerala (82), Assam (81), Madhya Pradesh (78.8), Uttarakhand (77), Maharashtra (75.1), and West Bengal (71.8). 
  • The rate of crime in Uttar Pradesh—which alone contributed nearly 15 percent of the cases in India—stood at 58.6, according to the NCRB.

What are the Reasons for the Increase in crimes against women?

  • Regressive Value system: Women and girls continue to be treated as permanent shock absorbers across class, caste, and other axes. 
  • Patriarchal Mindset: It is an outcome of the reconstruction of patriarchy in the neo-liberal economy era.
  • Unchanged Behaviour: Despite high levels of education, male mindsets and societal attitudes remain unchanged.
  • Gender-Based Violence: Practices like child marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings, and dowry violence increased gender-based violence and Crime against Women.
  • Proper implementation of laws: Lack of proper implementation of laws is one of the main factors responsible for increased crimes against women.
  • Even though there are numerous laws to deal with the crimes against women happening in society the crimes are still rising. 
  • Economic dependent: Women are generally economically dependent on men due to various factors, they are not given a free hand in education, jobs, etc. less wages are paid to them as compared to men for the same work.
  • COVID-19 impact: As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens economic and social stress coupled with restricted movement and social isolation measures, gender-based violence is increasing exponentially. 
  • Many women are being forced to ‘lockdown’ at home with their abusers at the same time that services to support survivors are being disrupted or made inaccessible.

Provisions related to women’s Safety in India 


  • The Constitution of India not only grants equality to women but also empowers the State to adopt measures of positive discrimination in favor of women to neutralize the cumulative socio-economic, educational, and political disadvantages faced by them. 
  • Fundamental Rights, among others, ensure equality before the law and equal protection of the law; prohibit discrimination against any citizen on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth, and guarantee equality of opportunity to all citizens in matters relating to employment.
  • Articles 14, 15, 15(3), 16, 39(a), 39(b), 39(c) and 42 of the Constitution are of specific importance in this regard.


  • The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956, 
  • The Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961, 
  • The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987, 
  • Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, 
  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 and 
  • The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.

National Policy on Women’s Safety:

  • An Action Plan has been furnished by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, which covers legal and schematic interventions to enhance the safety of Women.

Government Initiative: 

  • The Government has set up the Nirbhaya Fund for projects for the safety and security of women.
  • MHA launched an online analytic tool for police on 19th February 2019 called “Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences” to monitor and track time-bound investigations in sexual assault cases by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act 2018.
  • MHA launched the “National Database on Sexual Offenders” (NDSO) on 20th September 2018 to facilitate the investigation and tracking of sexual offenders across the country by law enforcement agencies.
  • NDSO has data on over 5 lakh sexual offenders.
  • Emergency Response Support System, which provides a single emergency number (112) based computer-aided dispatch of field resources to the location of distress has been operationalized in 20 States/ UTs in 2018-19.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development has also introduced the scheme of One Stop Centres to provide integrated support and assistance to women affected by violence and a Scheme for Universalisation of Women Helpline to provide 24-hour emergency and non-emergency response to women affected by violence. 

Global Effort to Reduce Crime Against Women

Two international agreements are upheld for woman’s right to live free from violence such as: 

  • The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women: On 18 December 1979, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. 
  • It entered into force as an international treaty on 3 September 1981 after the twentieth country had ratified it. 
  • The 1993 UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women: It is issued by the UN General Assembly, defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats.

Challenges faced in law implementation

Lack of skilled officers: There is a severe lack of police officers with requisite training for investigations. Most of the investigating officers are juniors with a poor pay scale. 

  • This hampers the actual investigation and preparation of chargesheets.
  • Delay in Justice: When it reaches the courts, at trial courts which are the first step, the cases take four to five years. If there is an appeal, it takes another 10-15 years.

Low representation of women: According to a response provided by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in the Rajya Sabha in February 2023, the representation of women in the police force (as of January 1, 2022) remained at 11.7% of the total state police force. 

  • This puts undue stress on the limited workforce leading to a high pendency.

Fast-track courts: Despite fast-track courts for looking into grievous crimes, they remain as slow as regular courts.

  • At 19%, Delhi’s FTSCs — 16 in number — have among the lowest disposal rates in the country, going by data from the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Way forward

  • Addressing root causes: Public awareness campaigns and educational programs must actively deconstruct harmful gender stereotypes and promote positive masculinity.
  • Empower women economically: Increased economic independence can give women more agency and reduce their vulnerability to abuse. Investing in women’s education and skill development is crucial.
  • Fast-track court system: Enhance the efficiency of fast-track courts by appointing more judges, streamlining procedures, and providing adequate infrastructure.
  • Reduce social stigma: Encourage public campaigns to counter victim blaming and create a supportive environment where women feel safe to come forward and report crimes.

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