The cases of domestic violence are on the rise in Himachal Pradesh, with the state recording 8.3 per cent cases of domestic violence as per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2019- 20 as compared to 5.9 per cent cases recorded in NFHS 2015-16 report.

The NFHS 2019-20, which was recently released by the Union government, pointed out towards the rise in cases of physical or sexual violence that was faced by women at the hands of their spouses in Himachal Pradesh. According to this latest NFHS report, 8.3 per cent women in the age group of 18 to 49 years had suffered violence at hands of their spouses with maximum number of cases reported from rural areas in HP.

The percentage of domestic violence in rural areas stood at 8.7 while it was 6 per cent in urban areas of the hill state. However, the cases of domestic violence against pregnant women had reduced in Himachal with the state recording only 0.6 per cent cases as compared to 1.5 per cent in 2015-16 and that urban areas of the state did not record any such case. The NFHS 2019-20 has linked the cases of domestic violence with use of alcohol, among other factors, in the country as experience of spousal physical or sexual violence varied greatly with the level of the husband’s alcohol consumption.

As per the survey, at the national level 71 per cent of women whose husbands often get drunk have experienced spousal physical or sexual violence, compared with 22 per cent of women whose husbands do not drink alcohol. The survey has pointed towards use of alcohol by over 32 per cent population over the age of 15 years in HP and its use was more prevalent in rural areas as compared to urban areas of the state.

Over 32 per cent men in rural areas consume alcohol as compared to 30 per cent in urban areas of the state.

The latest NFHS report also states that 32 per cent men use tobacco products with rural areas recording its consumption at 33.4 per cent while it was 25.4 per cent in urban areas of the state.

According to this report, the women were also found to be indulging in alcohol consumption (1.7 cent) and tobacco consumption (0.6 per cent) but their number is quite negligible as compared to men on these scores in the state.