ISLAMABAD, August 5, 2011: Crimes against women, including forced marriages and sexual assaults, registered an increase of 18% over a period of one year, according to a comparison of cases registered in 61 districts across the country.
Based on the comparison of number of FIRs pertaining to anti-women crimes in 61 districts, the number of total reported crimes increased from 849 in May 2010 to 999 in May 2011, says a FAFEN report on crimes against women on Friday.
The number of cases on forced marriages, incidents of insults and sexual harassment increased significantly while the spread of more serious crimes like rape and honour killing increased but their number declined marginally.
Attacks on modesty increased the most during the reporting year as 58% more FIRs were registered compared to May 2010. Cases of forced marriages and sexual harassment went up by 42% and 17% respectively. However, FIRs registered against rape, honour killings and offences against marriage decreased by 25%, 17% and 1%, respectively.
Crimes against women were more widespread this year as the number of districts reporting them increased in May 2011 compared to May 2010.
FIRs against 181 incidents of rape were registered in 34 districts in May 2011 compared to 241 in 30 districts same month last year. Similarly, 25 cases of honour killings were reported in 12 districts in May 2011 against 30 reported in nine districts in May 2010. It is difficult to ascertain the true pattern of occurrence of both rape and honour killings based only on the number of FIRs registered nationwide. There is a strong possibility that many cases go unreported because the victims do not file complaints or because the police are reluctant to register an FIR against these crimes.
In May 2011, the highest number of honour killings cases- four – were reported in the predominantly urban district of Faisalabad. However, in May 2010 the highest number of honour killings in a single district- Charsadda- was more than that reported in May 2011. Charsadda police had registered eight FIRs against honour killings in May last year.
As many as 439 FIRs against forced marriages were registered in 33 districts in May 2011 compared to 308 FIRs in 31 districts last year in the same month. Though Karachi district reported the highest number – 46 – FIRs against forced marriages in May 2010, the number went down by half in May this year to 23 FIRs. Faisalabad district reported the highest number of FIRs against this crime in May 2011 – 47, a marked increase from 36 FIRs in May last year.
FIRs against attack on modesty of women were reported in 31 districts this year compared to 21 last year, resulting in an increase in the number of reported cases from 146 to 230. Punjab’s 21 districts in May 2011 registered 206 FIRs against attacks on modesty, whereas 134 were registered in 16 districts in May 2010. In other regions, difference in number of registered FIRs was offset by increased or decreased reporting districts.
Cases of offences related to marriage also decreased in May 2011 – 117 FIRs were registered in 10 districts compared to 118 FIRs in May 2010 registered in eight districts. It is interesting that the number of FIRs decreased despite more reporting districts in May this year. Regionally, districts monitored in Sindh showed a sharp decline in the number of FIRs registered against offences relating to marriage – 22 FIRs were filed in two districts in May 2011, while in a similar number of districts, 50 FIRs had been registered in May 2010.
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