Indians say criminal justice system cannot cope with rape cases

India on 02 May 2014
Location : New Delhi, India | Source : The Guardian; image source: The Guardian

Survey finds nine in 10 say the crime is a 'very big problem', while three in four say laws too lax and police not strict enough.


A new poll shows that Indians view rape as a big problem in their country and think the criminal justice system is inadequate to deal with it.

The national survey was conducted by the Pew Research Centre one year after the December 2012 gang rape and murder of a 23-year-old student in New Delhi unleashed a wave of public anger about sexual violence in India. The results were published Tuesday.

The survey shows nine in 10 Indians agree that the crime of rape is a "very big problem." About eight in 10 say the problem is growing.

And despite some legal reforms after the Delhi case, about three in four Indians say laws are too lax and faulted police for not being strict enough in investigating rape cases.

The survey was based on 2,464 face-to-face interviews with adults across India between December 2013 and January 2014. It found the concern about rape cuts across gender and party lines, and is shared by urban and rural Indians.

Some 91% of men said rape was a very big issue, and 89% of women.

The nationwide outcry following the Delhi gang rape led the federal government to rush legislation increasing prison terms for rapists and criminalising voyeurism, stalking, acid attacks and the trafficking of women.

In September, a special fast track court sentenced four of the perpetrators of the Delhi case to death. And earlier this month, a court sentenced to death three men who raped a photojournalist inside an abandoned textile mill last year in Mumbai, India's biggest city, under a new anti-rape law. The woman who was attacked survived.

The Pew poll found that only 7% of Indians rated the current laws as "about right" in dealing with cases of rape, and only 6% said the police investigated rape cases adequately. Some 18% thought the laws were too tough.


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