This article is written by Khushbu Singhal, a Fourth Year B.A. LLB (Hons.) Student of Ideal Institute of Management and Technology & School of Law, Karkardooma, Delhi.
The global disease of COVID-19 has forced the world to take accommodation at home. To reduce the spread of this global pandemic, the government has advised people to stay at home. It is stated that staying at home is the best way to fight the Coronavirus. Home is considered to be the safest place for everybody. But the question is whether home is the safest place for women and children? By the time the period of lockdown in India is extending, the increase in domestic violence can be seen to be reported from India and across the world.
Domestic violence also called intimate partner violence occurs between people in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence can take many forms, including emotional, sexual and physical abuse and threats of abuse. Movement restrictions aimed to stop the spread of the Coronavirus may lead to violence in homes more often. The opening up of alcohol shops is also an issue to be concerned about. It is a well-known fact that there is a relation between alcohol and violence.
In fact, with Coronavirus lockdown the rise in cases of domestic violence can be seen. The National Commission for Women (NCW) has given an important warning about the increasing number of domestic violence cases since the lockdown in India has began. According to the Chairman of NCW, Rekha Sharma, domestic violence cases in India have spiked by almost 50 percent overall during the lockdown. She continued that due to the lockdown women who are suffering are unable to reach to police; however, they are in touch with these complainants.
The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) reported cases from the start of the lockdown till may’15 that were collected through 28 State Legal Services (SLAs). Some dreadful numbers were disclosed in the report which stated that most cases were from Uttarakhand that is in total 144 cases of domestic violence. In Haryana, the number of cases were 79 and in the capital, Delhi the number of cases raised up to 69.
Other than violation of human rights, victims of domestic violence can face several physical and mental health problems such as depression. Not only women but Children too are subjects of domestic violence during lockdown.
Deputy Advocate General Deepika Deshwal, who is engaged in counseling of the victims, said women after being subjected to domestic violence suffered from depression and anxiety. She also said “During lockdown, I had been allocated the charge of women and child affairs in the state. Now, all complaints are being monitored through daily diary reports being shared by deputy commissioners of police on a daily basis. We are getting complaints of lactating mothers being separated from their newborns after domestic violence.”
The Delhi High Court on April 24 directed the Delhi Government and the Central Government to ensure effective implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 during the lockdown.
Various cases of not only domestic violence but also other crimes against women and children are reported during lockdown. These crimes include rape, murder, cybercrime etc. some of the examples of these crimes conducted against women during lockdown are as follows: Teenage boys discussing gang-raping girls on Instagram chat group ‘Boys Locker Room’ in Delhi, 2-months-old girl raped by father in Tamil Nadu, 17-year-old girl kidnapped, raped in car amid Coronavirus lockdown, in Gujarat Father rapes his16-year-old stepdaughter. Also Father rapes daughter twice during COVID-19 lockdown in MP, mother stands by as mute spectator.
The Jammu & Kashmir Government has informed the High Court that 16 cases of rape and 64 incidents of molestation were reported during the lockdown period in the Union Territory.
It is essential that these people who need help are protected at this time. It should be the duty of every individual to keep an eye open for signs of violence around them too. Everybody must extend a helping hand to the people in threat. The person helping must be very careful while helping other and the local police must be informed immediately by him.