Since the enforcement of Coronavirus lockdown, the number of domestic violence cases has increased NCW (national council for women) has received 69 domestic violence complaints from March 24 to April 1 in India. Gender-based violence cases have doubled in India during the first week of restricted movements. Not just in India, in the United States, 20% of domestic violence cases have increased while in Australia there is a surge of 75% in online searches for support on domestic violence. The killing of women has surged in Turkey since the government advised people to stay home while cases rose 32% across France and 36% alone in Paris. Keeping this in mind, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has urged Governments across the world to take necessary actions against the domestic violence cases happening in their countries.
Recently released data by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) shows that there has been a rapid increase in domestic violence cases due to the nationwide lockout. Data classified by cases in various states shows that Uttarakhand recorded the highest number of domestic violence cases in the last two months. Haryana is at number two and National Capital Delhi at number three.
Reports of NALSA documents were collected from the beginning of the lockdown until May 15 through 28 State Legal Services (SLAs). The report revealed some shocking statistics, stating that a total of 144 cases of domestic violence were reported in Uttarakhand. From Haryana, the number of cases was 79, and a total of 69 cases were reported from Delhi.
Women also faced a spike in domestic violence in Telangana. According to Sakhi One-Stop Centers (centres that provide integrated support and assistance under one roof to women affected by violence), 89% of the total cases registered were registered in both private and public places in a phased manner in April. Of domestic violence.
According to Prof. U. Vindhya, Sakhi OSC Project Leader and Deputy Director of the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Hyderabad Campus, these numbers support current research worldwide about the increased risk of domestic violence due to lockdown Will help.
The increase in domestic violence cases is not limited to India alone. The lockdown has brought the world to a standstill. The lives of women around the world, who are in an abusive relationship, have also stalled. The same violence is repeated over and over, and regularly during the lockdown. Various domestic violence helplines and organizations are continuously working to tackle this global issue.
Under Reporting of the Cases: The National Commission of Women has recorded 291 complaints of domestic violence in March 2020 and is now only receiving complaints via email. However, actual reported cases may be quite low.
With curtailed mobility and a police force engaged in ensuring that lockdown is properly followed, women are losing even the avenues that could have saved them from abuse, and in extreme cases, death.
Further, due to the prevalence of conventional social norms and the stigma that is placed on survivors of domestic violence, such cases are being grossly under-reported.
Women belonging to poor and vulnerable classes are not able to file any complaints.
Defunct NGOs: The counselling centres are supposed to reach out to the complaint about domestic violence. However, amid lockdown, the NGOs and volunteer organizations that are usually the avenues for women to report such attacks are not working.
Undermining of Gender Equality: The Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)- 5 that seeks to ""eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against women in public and private spheres, and to undertake reforms to give them the same rights to economic resources and access to the property by 2030,"" is being enormously compromised.
An added challenge has been the importance of intertwined negative psychosocial impact on the mental health of women.
This further increases with job losses and other economic pressures on women
As the steps to contain the transmission of the virus might require more stretches of isolation and confinement for the public, the government all around the globe, need to address the upsurge in domestic violence immediately. In this context:
Governments must utilize a human rights and intersectional based approach to ensure that everyone, including the most marginalized, has access to necessary information, support systems and resources during the current crisis.
The state governments need to declare helplines as "essential services" that should remain open during lockdowns.
Media can sensitize the public against gender-based violence, publicize resources and services available and encourage the equitable sharing of domestic tasks at home.
Increase resourcing for NGOs that respond to domestic violence and aid — including shelter, counselling, and legal aid — to survivors, and promote those that remain open.
Ensure women's timely access to necessary and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services during the crisis, such as maternal health services, safe abortion etc.
Finally, the perpetrators of domestic violence must be brought to trial, and repeated offenders must be dealt with strictly as per the provisions of law.
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