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Risk factors for domestic violence – an empirical analysis for Indian states
Authors: Nabamita Dutta, Meenakshi Rishi, Sanjukta Roy, and Vinodhini Umashankar
Source: Journal of Developing Areas, 50(3): 241-259; doi:10.1353/jda.2016.0099.
Topic(s): Alcohol consumption
Domestic violence
Country: Asia
Published: JUL 2016
Abstract: In December 2012, a young student was gang-raped on a bus in Delhi. Since then media attention has been directed toward raising awareness about crimes against women in India. But data shows that domestic violence and not rape is India’s number one reported crime over the last decade. An incidence of domestic violence, legally defined as “cruelty by husband or his relatives,” is reported once every five minutes. This paper attempts to prospectively examine the association between several risk factors and domestic violence in India. We utilize a comprehensive, national database, viz. the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3) and focus on a sample of 69704 ever-married women between the ages of 15-49. A limited dependent variable model was used to estimate the effects. The dependent variable is a dichotomous variable indicating whether a respondent has faced any form of violence (both physical and emotional). Benchmark results and robustness checks indicate that several socio-economic and demographic factors are significantly associated with the likelihood of facing domestic violence. Factors that matter are educational attainment by the female as well as the husband, her employment status, the employment status of the husband, and demographic factors like caste and religion. A broad investigation indicates that among a comprehensive set of socio-economic and demographic variables that affect the susceptibility of ever-married women to domestic violence, women’s exposure to intergenerational violence, and alcohol consumption by the partner emerge as significant risk factors. The results remain robust even with choice of sub-samples based on educational differences between the partners. There is ample anecdotal evidence to suggest that excessive alcohol consumption is a national problem. Policy options have varied between outright prohibition and the use of tax instruments to curb excessive alcohol consumption. Apart from these, other positive interventions could emphasize on adverse health impacts and children’s well-being to bring about a sustainable behavioral change in partners. In addition to empowering women to break the cycle of domestic violence, one possible policy solution calls for the use of medical settings as an intervention point for children exposed to such violence. In order to support practitioners, NGOs and governmental agencies could identify best practices and disseminate such information to communities. .