Climate Change

Domestic violence to rise as subcontinent heats up: Study

Each 1°C increase in the annual mean temperature associated with a mean increase in domestic violence prevalence of 4.4

By Rajat Ghai
Published: Thursday 29 June 2023

IStock Photo for representationIStock Photo for representation

Domestic violence will rise as temperatures across the Indian subcontinent spike. In fact, such instances are already increasing, according to study published on June 28, 2023 in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

An international team of researchers from China, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States found epidemiological evidence that high ambient temperature may be associated with the risk of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) against women.

“These findings highlight the vulnerabilities and inequalities of women experiencing IPV in low- and middle-income countries in the context of global climate warming,” the researchers wrote.

The researchers collected data regarding emotional, physical and sexual violence as reported by 194,871 girls and women aged 15-49 from India, Pakistan and Nepal from October 1, 2010, to April 30, 2018.

They found each 1 °C increase in the annual mean temperature associated with a mean increase in IPV prevalence of 4.49 per cent.

The prevalence of physical violence was highest (23.0 per cent), followed by emotional (12.5 per cent), and sexual violence (9.5 per cent). The annual temperature ranges were mostly between 20°C and 30°C.

IPV prevalence would increase by 21.0 per cent by the end of the 21st century under “unlimited emissions scenarios”. But it would only moderately increase under increasingly stricter scenarios, according to the study’s projections.

The projected increases in the prevalence of physical (28.3 per cent) and sexual (26.1 per cent) violence were greater than that of emotional violence (8.9 per cent).

India is likely to experience the highest IPV prevalence increase (23.5 per cent) in the 2090s, followed by Nepal (14.8 per cent) and Pakistan (5.9 per cent).

The analyses for the study were performed from January 2, 2022, to July 11, 2022.

“Increasing temperature is squeezing working hours, directly impacting the income of daily wage earners. All members of the family are being forced to spend maximum time within the house, increasing the workload for women. This is also a problem for people who are homeless and not having adequate space,” national manager of the Ending Child Marriage Programme of Action Aid India, Ghasiram Panda told Down To Earth.

He added that increasing temperature also generated requirements for comfort which low income groups and economically weaker sections cannot afford.

“High temperature also has a direct impact on mental health. All this is contributing to domestic violence,” Panda said.

Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.