Domestic violence tops list
Gurugram: Since the COVID-19 lockdown began on March 25, the latest data from Gurugram Police shows that domestic violence forms the bulk of crimes against women in the city, with nearly 59 per cent of all crimes against women cases registered from the last week of March to June 25 being related to domestic violence.
As the lockdown had begun, many human rights organisations had predicted that the shutdown would lead to many abusive spouses being restricted at home, thereby anticipating a surge in domestic violence. The data from Gurugram Police shows that during the lockdown period, they had registered 250 cases of crimes against women, of which 147 were with respect to domestic violence cases.
Significantly, there are also concerns that this number may be higher, especially in rural areas, where reporting such incidents often leads to social stigma against the victims and in some cases much worse consequences for them.
And with Gurugram Police being authorised to adjudicate matters of domestic violence through online trials and E-courts; making matters all the more difficult for rural women who might not have the infrastructure to access the criminal justice system.
To deal with the challenge, government officials in Gurugram highlight that they have tied up with several NGOs for psycho-social counselling and providing assistance to women in distress. A couple of helpline numbers (1091 and 181) have also been launched so that women can come forward and report crimes against them.
Moreover, second in the list has emerged as cybercrime which involves abuse, molestation and harassment online, with 26 such cases registered in the months of lockdown. In fact, cybercrimes against women have already seen a surge compared to 20109, when police had registered only 51 such cases in the first six months of the year. In the same period this year, the number has already crossed 90.
For a long time, most molesters have adopted the route of social media like Twitter, Facebook and messenger services as means of sexually harassing women by sending them lewd messages. While this form of cybercrime is a new phenomenon, most criminals get emboldened by a low rate of conviction, and the anonymity that digital media enables them with.
And for a city with a dubious record of not being able to protect its girl children, the unfavourable trend continued even during the months of lockdown. There have been 10 cases registered under the POCSO Act for alleged offences of sexual abuse of minors.
These cases are beginning to show an upward trend, with more concern being raised about missing children cases. As per law enforcement officials, there have been 20 cases of untraced children registered in the last three months. 193 children had gone missing in Gurugram last year. Of these, 148 were girls and 48 boys. The Gurugram Police were able to trace 27 boys and 96 girls.