A total of 185,312 incidents of crime against women were reported in the country during 2007 as compared to 164,765 during 2006, an increase of 12.5 percent.
The number of crimes committed against women has increased continiously during the last five years.
In 2007, the highest number of crimes against women was recorded in Andhra Pradesh, according to the 'Crime in 2007' report of the National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB).
Homes were far from being safe havens for women. Last year, 75,930 women became victims of torture and cruelty by their husbands and in-laws, accounting for the highest number of crimes against women.
'This reflects growing disorder in terms of social relations in our society. On the other front our law enforcement agency has also failed to book culprits and our laws, rather than acting as a deterrent, is giving culprits a chance to commit crime and walk away scot-free,' women's rights activist Ranjana Kumari told IANS.
According to the Centre for Social Research, an NGO working for women's rights, aspiration for a high standard of living among young couples is an important reason behind rising family discord.
'Globalisation has brought a major shift in our attitude as we are moving towards a spending culture from a saving culture which is causing inter-personal tensions,' said Kumari.
There were 20,771 cases of rape reported in the country in 2007. In more than 90 percent of the cases, the victims knew the offenders. The highest number of rape cases was reported from Madhya Pradesh.
Despite the rise in the number of crimes against women, the National Commission for Women is of the view that laws such as the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, the Dowry Prohibition Act and various sections in the Indian Penal Code are important legislative measures that provide protection and legal remedies to women.
'The laws are effective enough to protect women, but it is the lack of awareness that is responsible for increasing crime against women. We need a major change in the mindset of our society to deal with these issues,' said National Commission for Women member Yasmin Abrar.