Behind the Locked Doors: Corona Lock-down, since lockdown has increased the number of domestic violence is also increased, don’t fear it, Fight it!
United Nations defines violence against women as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.“
The negative impact of the measures taken by countries worldwide to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has begun to unfold.
On 24 March 2020, while announcing a complete lockdown of the country for 21 days (now extended to 17 May), Prime Minister Modi drew a Laxman Rekha from Ramayana around the boundary of the house.
Although we are not aware of published studies to date that have tracked trends in domestic violence linked to COVID-19, initial statistics from the National Commission for Women helpline have indicated an increase in service usage, about 315 domestic violence complaints received in April 2020 alone.
WHO global estimates show that about 1 in 3 (35%) of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.
In India, before the coronavirus crisis, domestic violence was already deemed as highly prevalent, latest data from National Crime Records Bureau (2018), 103,272 women have reported abuse by partners and kins, constituting around one-third of all reported crimes against women. This high prevalence is associated with a negative effect on women’s physical, mental and reproductive health.
Though, increased risk during pandemics is not surprising. Previous epidemics, such as the Ebola virus disease outbreak in West Africa, and cholera and Zika virus disease outbreaks, led to a higher prevalence of domestic violence in regional environments;
A newly published studies report of a recent surge in domestic violence in China during the COVID-19 pandemic. China’s Hubei Province Police Station recorded a tripling of reports of domestic violence during the COVID‐19 quarantine in February 2020.
A spike in the rate of domestic violence during the current pandemic, would not only be a further mockery of human rights but can also be associated with long-term costs to society, irrevocable beyond the immediate threat of COVID-19. It is now important to implement a public health approach to domestic violence in India.
Pandemic and the resulting lockdown lead to people being confined in close quarters all the time under the stressful conditions. Generally, incidents of violence shoot up the more when survivors and their abusers are together – around holidays. Quarantining and social distancing measures likely have the same effect – potentially worse. The stress during the pandemic might not only aggravate the violence suffered by existing victims but can also create new.
The principles of public health should be implemented to support survivors of domestic violence. WHO public health approach consists of four steps:
- To define the problem through the systematic collection of information about the magnitude, scope, characteristics and consequences of violence.
- To establish why violence occurs using research to determine the causes and correlates of violence, the factors that increase or decrease the risk for violence, and the factors that could be modified through interventions.
- To find out what works to prevent violence by designing, implementing and evaluating interventions.
- To implement effective and promising interventions in a wide range of settings. The effects of these interventions on risk factors and the target outcome should be monitored, and their impact and cost-effectiveness should be evaluated.
The strain of domestic abuse during this pandemic cannot be identified without adequate surveillance. Enhancing surveillance provides a chance to offer targeted support and interventions.
The UN agency for sexual and reproductive health (UNFPA) estimates about 31 million more cases of domestic violence worldwide if lockdowns continue for another six months.
Tackling domestic abuse should be a part of the national response that is being developed to deal with COVID-19 crisis.
- Whatsapp Helpline Number: +91 7217735372
- Women police helpline numbers: 1091 and 1291
Violence Prevention Alliance. The public health approach. 2011. World Health Organization.
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