Bandipora, Dec 29: North Kashmir’s Bandipora district is witnessing an uptick in domestic violence-related cases against women, according to data from one of the government’s assistance centres specialising in issues related to women.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development’s Mission Shakti or Sakhi- One Stop Centre for Women implemented by J&K Students Welfare Mission, which was established in January, 2020 in the district, has assisted over 400 cases concerning women from 2020 till now.
The mission also runs an Old Age Home and District Drug De-Addiction Centre in Bandipora.
The data available with Greater Kashmir suggests that 393 women were subjected to domestic violence from April 2020, when cases began to trickle in until December 2023. Moreover, 12 cases related to cybercrime have also been assisted for the same period.
However, the analysis of the data suggests that violence against women has witnessed an upward trend in recent years, with more cases trickling in less time than before, officials said.
“We have already recorded 100 cases affecting women in Bandipora from April 2023 to December,” Administrator OSC-Bandipora, Ishrat Ayoub told Greater Kashmir.
According to the data, among the 100 cases reported by the OSC by December, 96 cases are domestic violence, and the other four are cybercrime-related cases. There are also two cases of human trafficking, the cases which the center never recorded or has assisted before.
“There are many cyber cases, these are mainly social media harassment,” Ishrat said.
The administrator said that even though more cases were reported between April 2022 and March 2023, “We anticipate it will be more than what we have seen before this year. We have never before witnessed 100 cases in just nine months.” The centre prepares its annual data from April to March. In this reference, the centre reported 146 cases between 2022 and 2023.
These included 134 related to domestic violence, eight related to cybercrime, and four were land disputes. The previous year, between 2021-22, the centre recorded 100 cases, 98 of which were domestic violence and one each for cybercrime and land dispute.
For the previous years, the centre assisted 60 cases between 2020-21, 57 of which were domestic violence related, two related to cybercrimes and one land dispute.
In the year of its inception, the centre assisted just eight cases, all of which were related to domestic violence, the data suggested. The centre has also assisted 23 women with shelter from 2020, 13 of whom were assisted for the ongoing year.
The official said the age group of domestic violence, which ranges from physical to verbal abuse by husband or in-laws ranges between 27- 35 years.
The center follows a due procedure, the officials informed. First, the case is registered, followed by a recording of the statement of the victim and the accused.
Keeping in consideration the nature of the offense or situation of the case, the experts at the center offer “individual and then group counseling sessions to reconcile.” In the worst-case scenario, free legal assistance is provided too.
In some cases, “if there is a need for any medical procedures then free medical facilities are provided to the victim,” the official said.
They also provide free temporary shelter with facilities like food, and daily use items whenever required.
The officials believe that violence against women remains underreported and that “awareness to fight against domestic violence was a must.” “Women must break the silence to stop the violence,” Ishrat added.