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Coronavirus: Surge in domestic violence reported worldwide

Measures taken to curb coronavirus by restraining movement during lockdown are possibly making violence in homes frequent, severe and dangerous.

All around the world its lockdown going on to vanish the current pandemic, forcing people to spend much more time at home, leading to a surge in domestic abuse cases.

Women and children who suffer from domestic violence have no escape from their abusers during quarantine. Activists from all parts of the world are reporting an alarming rise in abuse.

In Germany, support organizations have voiced fears over increases in child abuse while schools remain closed. They also expect domestic violence to rise.

In Italy where a rise in domestic abuse has been noticed, the government introduced state police app YOUPOL for the victims. The call geolocates the position and transmits the data to the nearest police station.

In Hubei province, amid the coronavirus outbreak, domestic violence cases reported to the police tripled during the lockdown in February, from 47 last year to 162 this year.

The pattern is being repeated globally. In India, data released by National Commission for Women (NCW) showed that a total of 257 complaints were lodged by women, out of which 69 related to domestic violence from March 24 to April 1.

Chairperson Rekha Sharma said the number of domestic violence cases must be higher but women are scared to complain due to the constant presence of their abusers at home.

In Cyprus calls to helpline rose by 30% in a week after March 9.

The Catalan region reported a 20% rise in the calls to its hotline. In Brazil a state-run-drop-in centre has already seen a surge in cases and attributes this to coronavirus isolation, the Brazilian broadcaster Globo said.

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These alarming figures are based on the cases being logged, where women had been able to seek help. Many women cannot make calls because they fear being overheard by abusive partners, or other abusive family members.

As with the lack of safety measures in this regard, abusers get the opportunity to terrorize their victims and this happens more frequently.

As quarantine takes its effect globally, this kind of “intimate terrorism”- a term which could be preferred for domestic violence – is flourishing at a rapid speed and it needs to be addressed urgently.

By Anupreet Singh, Freelance Journalist & Writer

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