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NEW DELHI : India’s rape-related crime rate rose 70.7% over the last two decades from 11.6 per 100,000 women and girls in 2001 to 19.8 in 2018, according to a report by Public Health Foundation of India.

The study, based on annual reports of the National Crime Records Bureau said a majority of such crimes was reported between 2012 and 2018.

In the report, rape-related crimes were classified under five categories, such as assault with an intent to outrage modesty of a woman, rape, insult to modesty of a woman, attempt to commit rape, murder with rape, and gang-rape. In most cases, the offender was known to the victim. However, only 10% of cases completed trials by 2018, with acquittals in 73% of the cases. According to the report, 1,597,466 such crimes were reported in India from 2001 to 2018. The NCRB reported 59,945 cases in 2001, and reached 133,836 in 2018. The study was published in the BMC public health medical journal.

While the least number of cases were reported in Bihar with a rate of 1.8 per 100,000 Odisha was high up on the list with 49.4 cases per 100,000 women and girls in 2018.

Rape-related crime rate in Delhi almost double compared to the other states since 2012 before stabilizing at 49.3 per 100,000, the report added.

Goa documented the highest increase of 559·4% in the last two decades , or 5.6 times the national average. The authors said reporting of such crimes is key to establish a trend and varies from state to state, with some states showing stagnant rates over the years. “We noted a significant increase of 70.7% in rape-related crime between 2001 and 2018. We know after Nirbhaya case, the reporting of sexual crime cases went up. It is important to note that NCRB data are based on police data, or FIRs registered for crimes. It is very difficult to say how much of this increase in rate is due to an increase in reporting and how much is the actual increase. Reporting of such cases depend on both the victim and the police who register the FIRs. Therefore, we need more data at the population level to better understand the burden of sexual crimes against women and what proportion of them are actually reported," Prof (Dr) Rakhi Dandona, chief author of the study, said in an interview.

“We are concerned about gender-based violence and lack of specificity in the available data. NCRB reports are the only source of data on a variety of crimes that are captured over time. Hence, we utilized the data to describe state variations and to highlight gaps to address sexual violence effectively in India. The analysis highlights that we need more nuanced data on such crimes to be collected by the police which can actually help us develop effective interventions. NCRB may consider making available de-identified individual-level data to allow for analysis that can highlight possible risk factors to prevent such crimes." she added.

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