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COVID-19 Lockdown: Domestic Violence Cases Surge Across The Globe [India Helpline Numbers]

These are difficult times, when the whole world needs to stick together as one to fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. With cities being shut down and people ordered to safeguard themselves and stay at home, the streets resemble an apocalyptic movie. We are unsure as to when the anguish of living beings will end. With healthcare workers, law enforcement and government employees as well as cleaners and helpers out there risking their lives and working in the lockdown, reality stands gloomy on the other side of the crisis - or another form of crisis to be added to the long list of crises the world is facing right now.

Recent reports show that since the first day of the lockdown, the government helpline in India has received 92,000 calls seeking help for abuse and violence [1]. The Kerala state government has launched a 24-hour helpline number on WhatsApp to report domestic violence cases during lockdown - please call 9400080292.

The United Nations (UN) recently called for urgent action to combat the worldwide surge in domestic violence, suggesting the heartbreaking reality that while for most of us home is our safe haven, there are thousands of people and children for whom it is not so. They become victims to the opportunistic domestic violence that is tragically flourishing in the current circumstance. ALSO READ: 7 Things You Should Know About The Coronavirus Outbreak.

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High Domestic Violence During 'Family Time'

According to studies, the chances of domestic violence is high whenever families spend more time together, such as on school vacations, Christmas holidays, etc. [2][3]. Currently, with families being ordered to stay indoors to avoid contracting the novel coronavirus disease, the victims are trapped inside homes with their abusers, with no way out.

The horrifying global surge in domestic violence amidst the coronavirus scare is not a feeble claim but reports that are supported by proof. During the lockdown, as people are unable to go outside the four walls of their home, there are chances of conflicts growing bigger and resulting in assault and violence [4][5].

Domestic violence experts use the term 'intimate terrorism' to reflect the grim reality of the abuse inflicted upon victims, where it is no less than an act of terrorism on the emotional, physical and mental well-being of an individual and their individuality [6][7].

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Women & Girls At Increased Risk

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said during the press conference, "For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest in their own homes. In some countries, the number of women calling support services has doubled". The UN chief preferred not to name the countries [8].

Various countries including China, India, Spain, and Italy have reported a steep rise in the number of domestic violence cases [9]. According to the National Commission for Women, India reported double the usual number of domestic abuse cases in the first week of lockdown [10].

France saw a three times' surge in the week after that country's lockdown, with Australia reporting a 75 percent increase in Internet searches relating to support for domestic violence victims [11].

The UN chief put forth the need to implement emergency warning systems in pharmacies and groceries, and for safe ways "for women to seek support, without alerting their abusers".

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India Reports 50% Surge In Domestic Violence Cases

As per reports of the National Commission for Women (NCW), since the first day of the Coronavirus lockdown, there has been a twofold rise in gender-based violence [12]. The report points out that the total complaints from women rose from 116 in the first week of March (2-8 March), to 257 in the final week (23 March -1 April).

The cases of domestic violence are high in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab, where the cause of increased domestic violence is said to rise from the frustration men developed due to the current movement restrictions, where they take it out on the women at home.

Job loss, salary cuts, and an uncertain future are some of the reasons leading to the misogynist frustration, where the victims have reported to the relief organisations that the constant abuse is leading to their deteriorating mental health [13].

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Child Helplines Report 50% Surge In Cases

Reports on abuse point out that it is not only women but also children who are being subjected to abuse inside their homes. The Childline India NGO received more than 92,000 SOS calls asking for protection from abuse and violence in 11 days [14].

Out of the 3.07 lakh calls received by the 'CHILDLINE 1098' helpline, 92,105 calls were about protection against abuse and violence on children.

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On A Final Note

Some experts point out the lack of proper decision-making and execution of the lockdown in the country to the rising number of domestic violence. The governments around the world, with the help of civic groups and support groups, are steadily working towards managing the situation, hoping to provide support and assistance. However, with the Coronavirus lockdown and restrictions on facilities, the pandemic is expected to push the world economy into a recession, which experts say may make it difficult for most victims to leave abusive relationships. In such a situation, it is even more important that if you are going through such a situation, you seek help.

HELPLINE NUMBERS of the NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR WOMEN:

For women in distress:

Central Social Welfare Board -Police Helpline 1091/ 1291, (011) 23317004

Shakti Shalini 10920

Shakti Shalini - women's shelter (011) 24373736/ 24373737

SAARTHAK (011) 26853846/ 26524061

All India Women's Conference 10921/ (011) 23389680

JAGORI (011) 26692700

Joint Women's Programme (also has branches in Bangalore, Kolkata, Chennai) (011) 24619821

Sakshi - violence intervention center (0124) 2562336/ 5018873

Saheli - a womens organization (011) 24616485 (Saturdays)

Nirmal Niketan (011) 27859158

Nari Raksha Samiti (011) 23973949

RAHI Recovering and Healing from Incest. A support centre for women survivors of child sexual abuse (011) 26238466/ 26224042, 26227647.

Legal Aid

Human Rights Law Network runs Madhyam Helpline and provide Legal Services (011) 24316922/ 24324503

Lawyers Collective Womens Rights Initiative LC WRI runs a pro-bono legal aid cell for domestic violence cases (011) 24373993/ 24372923

MARG (Multiple Action Research Group) (011) 26497483 / 26496925

Delhi Police HELPLINE 1091

Delhi Commission for Women (011) 23379181/ 23370597

Women's Cell, Delhi Police (011) 24673366 / 4156 / 7699

National Human Rights Commission (011) 23385368/9810298900

Pratidhi (011) 22527259

Information and Services related with AIDS : Govt AIDS Helpline 1097

Child Line- is a 24-hour, FREE, nation-wide phone outreach emergency helpline for children in need of care and protection. for more information Click here 1098.

CATS - Centralised Ambulance for Trauma Services - Delhi Govt. 1099

Counselling Services on Women in Distress - Organised by Delhi Police 3317004

Sarthak - Career Guidance and Counselling for young people 9628052777, 9628019278, 9628019279

Helpline on Breathing Problems - Organised by Better Breathers Club of India 9628015969, 9632154536, 9628005278

Hotline for Brain Attack 5792090, 5794733.

Tarshi - Counselling Services on Reproductive Issues

Navjyoti Addiction Helpline 7510490

Sharan Drug Drop Helpline Centre 2964637.

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