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Crimes against women act

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

Right from the time of her birth or even before a girl could become a victim of a crime or target of a crime. Let’s look at the stages in a woman’s life and discuss the threats briefly. Just as the stages vary, the nature of crimes varies too. The 2012 National Crime Records Bureau report of India states a reported crime rate of 46 per 100,000, rape rate of 2 per 100,000, the dowry homicide rate of 0.7 per 100,000 and the rate of domestic cruelty by husband or his relatives as 5.9 per 100,000. A 2014 study in The Lancet states, “Whereas an 8·5% prevalence of sexual violence in the country [India] is among the lowest in the world, it is estimated to affect 27·5 million women in India [given India’s large population]. Further, the 2006 survey found that 85% of women who suffered sexual violence, in or outside of marriage, never sought help, and only 1% report it to the police.”


1.Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Sexual Harassment at Workplace

Sexual-harassment-at-work-place sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 was passed with the objective of providing protection to the women at the workplace. Sexual harassment is when one person subjects another person to an unwelcome act of physical intimacy like grabbing, brushing, touching, pinching, eve-teasing, makes an unwelcome demand or request directly or by implication for sexual favours from another person, shows a person any sexually explicit visual material, in the form of pictures/cartoons/pin-ups/calendars/ screensaver version computers/any offensive written material / pornographic e-mails or any other form of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, eve-teasing, jokes likely to cause awkwardness or embarrassment, innuendos, sexist remarks. This statute superseded the Vishakha Guidelines for the prevention of sexual harassment introduced by the Supreme Court of India. Every employer is required to constitute an Internal Complaints Committee at each office or branch with 10 or more employees. The Act covers students in schools and colleges as well as patients in hospitals, employers and local authorities will have to set up grievance committees to investigate all complaints. Any aggrieved woman may file a complaint in writing to the Internal committee/ Local Committee within 3 months from the date of the incident or the date of the last incident in case of a series of incidents. The victim can also file a complaint with Police under Indian Penal Code 1860 under Sections 294,354, 354A, 509.

2.Acid Attack


Acid Attack

Acid-attackAcid throwing also called an acid attack is a form of violent assault defined as the act of throwing acid or a similarly corrosive substance onto the body of another with the intention to disfigure, maim, torture, or kill. Perpetrators of these attacks throw acid at their victims, usually at their faces, burning them, and damaging skin tissue, often exposing and sometimes dissolving the bones. The long term consequences of these attacks may include blindness, as well as permanent scarring of the face and body, along with far-reaching social, psychological, and economic difficulties. Section 326A and Section 326B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 provide the punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by use of acid and voluntary throwing or attempting to throw acid respectively. Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code allows the right of private defence to the extent of causing death if there is acid is thrown or there is an attempt of throwing acid.




Rape is one of the most heinous atrocities committed on a woman in our society. It is known to be the fourth most common crime against women in India. Rape takes place if a man has sexual intercourse i.e, penetrates his penis, to any extent, into the vagina, mouth, urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or inserts, to any extent, any object or a part of the body, not being the penis, into the vagina, the urethra or anus of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or manipulates any part of the body of a woman so as to cause penetration into the vagina, urethra, anus or any part of the body of such woman or makes her do so with him or any other person; or applies his mouth to the vagina, anus, urethra of a woman or makes her do so with him or any other person, under the circumstances falling under any of the following seven descriptions:—

  1. Against her will.
  2. Without her consent.
  3. With her consent, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested, in fear of death or of hurt.
  4. By getting her consent by pretending to be her husband.
  5. When she does not understand the nature and consequences of what she has consented to because of unsoundness of mind or under the influence of alcohol.
  6. With or without her consent, when she is under eighteen years of age.
  7. When she is unable to communicate consent.

A rape victim can file an FIR in the local police station under following Sections of Indian Penal Code.

  1. 376-Punishment for Rape
  2. 376A-Punishment for causing death or resulting in the persistent vegetative stage of the victim.
  3. 376B- Sexual Intercourse by Husband upon his wife during separation
  4. 376C- Sexual Intercourse by Person in Authority
  5. 376D-Gang Rape

4.Obscenity and Pornography

Obscenity and Pornography

Obscenity and Pornography

Pornography is printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity intended to stimulate sexual excitement or seems lewd from a responsible reader standpoint.. Pornography is the portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal. Pornography may be presented in a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photographs, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games, websites. Increased use of information technology, such as Internet and communication devices has led to a proliferation of illegal websites containing obscene and pornographic materials. Obscenity and pornography have not been specifically defined under any Act in India but The Indian Penal Code, 1860, The Information Technology Act, 2000, The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986, deal with obscenity and pornography and make publishing or transmission, sale of obscene and pornographic materials as punishable offences under various provisions.

  1. Sections 292,293,294,354,354A,354B,354C,509 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
  2. Sections 66E, 67,67A, 67B of the Information Technology Act, 2000
  3. Section 6 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986

5.Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence

Domestic-violence domestic Violence can be described as where one adult in a relationship misuses power in order to control another. It is the establishment of fear in a relationship through violence that includes other forms of abuse. The violence may involve physical abuse, sexual assault and threats. At times it can be more subtle, such as making someone feel worthless, not letting them have any money, or not allowing them to leave the home.An Application can be filed to the Magistrate under Section 12 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Orders such as residence, protection, monetary relief, compensation order can be passed by the Magistrate. Complaint can also be filed under Section 498A for cruelty by husband or his relatives along with demand for dowry.The words “shared household” were considered by Supreme court in SR Batra v TarunaBatra AIR 2007 SC 1088, to mean house belonging to or taken on rent by husband or house which belongs to joint family of which husband is a member .If it is exclusive property of mother in law , it cannot be called a joint family property.A wife cannot claim and is not entitled to stay in her father in law’s house using the Domestic Violence Act- It was held by the Delhi Court in Sudha Mishra v. Surya Chandra Mishra RFA 299/2014.

6.Cruelty/Dowry demand



To curtail the growing incidents of dowry torture and dowry death , a new Section was incorporated into Indian Penal Code , that is, Section 498A .According to this Section, whoever being husband or relative of husband of a woman , subjects her to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and fine. Cruelty herein means any willful conduct that is likely to drive a woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or danger to her life, limb or health ( whether physical or mental_) of the woman Or harassment to force her to meet any unlawful demand for any property or security or on failure to meet the demand. Later, Section 198A was added to the Criminal Procedure Code in 1983. In 2005, the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act was passed, which added to protect women from dowry harassment. Section 304B was added to the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”), which made dowry death a specific offence punishable with a minimum sentence of imprisonment for 7 years and a maximum imprisonment for life.Further, under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 a demand for Dowry is an offence wherein demand is made at the time of or even after marriage even where no cruelty is involved .

7.WHO response

WHO response

WHO Response

At the World Health Assembly in May 2016, Member States endorsed a global plan of action on strengthening the role of the health systems in addressing interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls and against children.

Global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children

WHO, in collaboration with partners, is:

Building the evidence base on the size and nature of violence against women in different settings and supporting countries’ efforts to document and measure this violence and its consequences, including improving the methods for measuring violence against women in the context of monitoring for the Sustainable Development Goals. This is central to understanding the magnitude and nature of the problem and to initiating action in countries and globally.

Strengthening research and capacity to assess interventions to address partner violence.

Undertaking interventions research to test and identify effective health sector interventions to address violence against women.

Developing guidelines and implementation tools for strengthening the health sector response to intimate partner and sexual violence and synthesizing evidence on what works to prevent such violence.

Supporting countries and partners to implement the global plan of action on violence by:

Collaborating with international agencies and organizations to reduce and eliminate violence globally through initiatives such as the Sexual Violence Research Initiative, Together for Girls, the Violence Against Women Working Group of the International Federation of Obstetrician-Gynecologists (FIGO) and the UN Joint Programme on Essential Services Package for Women Subject to Violence.



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