India struggling to combat domestic violence

India is now struggling with the new problem of increase in crime against women during the lockdown period.

Manvika Adlakha | New Delhi

Last year, the outbreak of the novel Covid-19 emerged as a global public health crisis and sent the world into the rabbit hole. The deadly virus which originated from Wuhan, China rapidly spread throughout the world, severely infecting the mass population in the process.  

To combat this global health threat all the affected countries took preventative measures to control such as social distancing, wearing masks, closing down of public places, restriction on social gatherings and when the virus still couldn’t be contained complete lockdowns were imposed. India was among one of the countries to impose the complete lockdown to curb the spread of unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. 

The “home” became a refuge in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But for some, it became the most difficult place to stay at. However, when the world was fighting with the virus, a new crisis was seen to be rising at a rapid rate in the country. It has been documented that there is an increase in the number of  cases of domestic violence during the lockdown period. Consequently, this even earned the title of “the shadow pandemic”. 

The National Commision for Women was flooded with complaints of crimes against women as soon as the lockdown was imposed in the country. As per the data there was a significant jump in the number of cases of domestic violence against women after the lockdown was imposed as compared to 2019. By the end of the year 2020 there were 5,297 cases as compared to 2019 with 2,960 cases. A total of 23,722 complaints were filed for crimes against women in 2020, whereas in the year 2019 the number was 19,730.

As a result of the lockdown, women were devoid of the opportunity to shift to a safer place and were distanced from their support as well. They have been trapped with their abusers inside the homes for 24×7. It has become a matter of daily survival – a war for them. The violence being meted on them such as the increased responsibilities around the household, stress of taking care of family and above all tolerating the abuse has spiked. 

Another reason that could be considered for the increase in cases is the increase in awareness. Women are now more woke and proactive in speaking up against the violence imposed on them. If earlier trends are noticed, women used to suppress their grievances and not stand up against them. Now, because of several factors they feel motivated and inspired enough to report about them to the authorities. 

Now, even a year after the lockdown the situation still remains grim for the women. The NCW continues to receive complaints for crime against women in big numbers. Over 2,000 complaints have been received as per the data by the NCW for the same every month. It has been observed that nearly one-fourth of the complaints were related to domestic violence. As per the official data by the NCW, 1,463 complaints of domestic violence against women were recieved in just a span of three months – Janauary 2021 to March 2021. 

According to the data provided by the NCW, in 2020, Uttar Pradesh ranks at the first place with a total of 11,872 cases registered for crimes against women. Delhi stands at the second place with 2,636 cases. It is then followed by Haryana, Maharashtra and Bihar having 1,265, 1,188 and 1,072 cases respectively in the exact order.