The fifth National Family Health Survey (2019-2020) has indicated a rise in violence against women in domestic spaces in Himachal Pradesh.
The report, which was recently released by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has revealed that violence against married women belonging to the age group of 18-49 spiked in 2019-2020 when compared to the figures reported in 2015-2016.
Meanwhile, physical violence against married women during pregnancy declined from 1.5 per cent in 2015 to 0.6 per cent in 2019.
Incidents of sexual violence against women (18-29 years), also declined from 2.8 per cent in 2015 to 2.5 per cent in 2019 though the data collected during the survey shows that cases of such violence in the rural areas have not registered any significant decline.
In 2015, violence against women in domestic spaces was recorded at 5.9 per cent. Most of the incidents reported were acts of spousal violence, with the rural areas reporting a higher incidence (8.7 per cent) of the crime when compared to the state’s urban areas (6 per cent).
It is important to note that during the Covid-19 lockdown, cases of domestic violence saw a tremendous spike in the state.
"There was a sudden increase in sexual violence cases during the coronavirus-induced lockdown. We tackled it by initiating new measures like introducing Register No. 26 to keep tabs on all offenders at every police station," DGP Sanjay Kundu said.
Meanwhile, responding to the report, a senior health official said, “We are yet to look into the details of the report. It’s not possible to respond to the findings at this stage, especially when the state machinery has been busy handling the Covid-19 crisis.”
However, on a positive note, women’s participation in their household decisions has increased to 94 per cent, when compared to the figure of 90.8 per cent in 2015.
Women have also started earning more in the state and there’s a spike in the number of women owning property. Only 11.3 per cent of women owned a house and/or land (alone or jointly) in 2015. The figure went up to 23.1 per cent in 2019.
The number of women owning a bank account also increased to 83.1 per cent in 2019 when compared to 68.8 per cent in 2015.