Even much before when Covid-19 started to spread, domestic abusers regularly tried to isolate and harm their victims so as to exercise psychological and physical control over them. And there is no harm in saying that coronavirus lockdown has increased their ability or power to do that on repeat. Those who are at high risk – be they children, partners or parents – they are unable to no longer escape, maybe to work, college or school. Social workers, policymakers, and campaigners are working day and night to reduce this problem as well as formulating new policies with the help of government authorities.
According to the reports, cases related to domestic violence or abuse are increasing rapidly all across the globe due to COVID-19 crisis. There are other factors too which add up to this issue are stress, anger, and associated risk factors such as alcohol abuse, unemployment, reduced income etc.
As per the reports of National Commission for Women in India the cases of domestic violence has rapidly increased. Also there has been rise in the number of distress calls during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
The issue of domestic violence and abuse is just not restricted to India only but it is recorded all over the world as a follow up to the compulsory lockdown. It is pretty obvious that the children and women who are living under such situation have no escape from their abusers during the time of lockdown or quarantine.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made domestic violence issue prevailing in world even worse, but proving it has become even harder. During the lockdown period the victims are finding it difficult to call the police or give a missed call on the helpline number issued by government for the help because of the tormentor near them.
Due to the community transmission of the infection victims are not even able to step out of their houses. Those people who have lost their jobs due to this pandemic are finding it even more difficult to leave. There is no doubt in saying that the coronavirus pandemic is making tough for people for search for help – social workers fear infection, too.
At the same time, COVID-19 pandemic has the ability to continue with the marginalization of domestic abuse or violence survivors who are in urgent need of support and there is no doubt in saying that this can become the greatest global economic crisis in modern history. For victims, specifically those who are undeserved or marginalized, the COVID-19 pandemic can bring back mistrust formal systems and isolate them further. It will be a big challenge for the government to repair those relationships and in such a situation conventional approaches will be required. It is very essential for the government, private sector and NGOs to add gender lens as well as incorporate human rights into all of their steps towards coping up with COVID-19 crisis.
Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and countries have started to take effective as well as innovative steps in this direction. NGOs and governments are launching campaigns using social media as a communication tool to spread awareness of resources available to the victims, which includes helpline numbers, mobile applications, and text message – based reporting.