A new law to address domestic violence in India took effect late last week. This is the first law in India specifically addressing the problem of domestic violence, targeting husbands, live-in partners, and family members who abuse or threaten women verbally, physically, sexually, emotionally, and/or economically. The punishment for offenders ranges from a prison sentence of up to a year to a fine of up to 20,000 rupees ($435), or a combination of the two.
This is certainly a giant step for women in India, where every three minutes crimes against them are committed, according to India’s National Crime Records, BBC reports. In addition, the Associated Press reports that the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) found that an astonishing 70 percent of women who are married are beaten and sexually abused. Furthermore, BBC News paraphrases Indian officials as saying, “every six hours, a young married woman is burned, beaten to death, or driven to commit suicide.”
Women’s rights advocates in India are praising the new law, but are calling on the government to provide the funds needed to fully implement the law. Women’s rights groups also plan to launch an educational campaign to inform women of their new rights and options, according to BBC.