The National Commission for Women (NCW) has raised concerns about the increase in the number of cases of domestic violence and abuse during the lockdown period in the country in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma Thursday said the Commission has been receiving complaints mostly via emails. In the first week of March (2-8), NCW had received 116 complaints of crimes against women from across the country. During the lockdown period, the number of the same for 10 days, from March 23-31, is 257.
“From March 24-April 1, the NCW received 69 complaints of domestic violence, and it is increasing by the day. I am
getting emails directly. I get one or two complaints every day. Today, I received a complaint from Nainital where a woman is unable to travel to her home in Delhi and her husband is abusing and beating her. She wants refuge in a hostel where she can live for the remainder time of the lockdown. She doesn’t even want to go to the police as she says that even if they take her husband away, she will have to stay with her in-laws and the abuse will continue,” said Sharma.
“I’ve seen very different kinds of complaints during this lockdown period. Women are not being able to reach the police if they want to, and in many cases, they don’t want to approach the police because if the husband is released from detention after a couple of days, the woman will still be unable to leave the house,” said Sharma.
“Earlier, the women would go to their parents’ home, but they are no longer able to do so,’’ she said, adding the NCW has been in constant touch with the victims who have approached the Commission.
The NCW support mechanism by which victims can register complaints include physical visits to the commission offices in different states, postal communication, phone calls, online complaint registration, emails and through social media. Under lockdown, only three forms of registering complaints are available to victims: social media, email, and online registration.
According to the NCW data, during the lockdown period, there have been 69 cases of domestic violence, 77 cases under right to live with dignity, 15 cases of harassment of married women in the home, two dowry deaths, 13 cases of rape/attempt to rape. The number of domestic violence cases in the week prior to the lockdown was 30, harassment
of married women 13, right to live with dignity 35.
The states with the highest number of complaints include Uttar Pradesh with 90, Delhi with 37, Bihar with 18, Madhya Pradesh with 11 and Maharashtra with 18. In the pre-lockdown period, Uttar Pradesh had 36 cases in the same number of days, Delhi had 16, Bihar had 8, Madhya Pradesh had 4 and Maharashtra five.
“We are a small statutory body, so obviously the bulk of the complaints of crimes against women don’t come to us but go to the police, we get a small portion. What the victims are telling us that they are not approaching the police because of the lockdown. The increase in violence against women, especially domestic abuse is a very worrying trend,” said an official.
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