'Plaints of domestic violence against women spiked in year of lockdown'

New Delhi: The number of complaints of domestic violence received by the National Commission for Women rose sharply from 2,960 in 2019 to 5,297 in 2020, the year of the lockdown when most people were confined to their homes due to COVID-19. The trend continues this year as well.

The NCW received a total of 19,730 complaints of crimes against women in 2019 as compared to 23,722 in 2020, according to official data.

A year after the lockdown, the NCW continues to receive over 2,000 complaints every month of crimes against women with nearly one-fourth of them related to domestic violence, it stated. According to the NCW data, 1,463 complaints of domestic violence against women were received from January, 2021 to March 25, 2021.

The nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25 last year to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it also trapped many domestic violence victims with their abusers. Soon after the lockdown was imposed, the NCW reported a surge of complaints related to domestic violence so much so that it started a dedicated WhatsApp number for reporting of just domestic violence complaints.

The number of complaints of domestic violence went on increasing through the months and in July, a record number of 660 such complaints were received.

Since June, the NCW has been receiving over 2,000 complaints of crimes against women every month out of which nearly a quarter are of domestic violence, the data stated. According to the NCW data, 25,886 complaints of crime against women have been received from April, 2020 till now which includes 5,865 complaints of domestic violence. Also, the NCW received the highest number of complaints against women in six years in 2020 at 23,722 with nearly one-fourth of them of domestic violence.

NCW chairperson Rekha Sharma had said economic insecurity, increased stress levels, anxiety, financial worry, and lack of other such emotional support of parents/family's side may have resulted in domestic violence in many instances in the

year 2020.

"More so, home has become the workplace of both the spouses and as well as schools and colleges for their children. In such situations, women are multitasking being professional at the same time supporting their families from the same space. But the biggest challenge for women this year is not only to adapt but to thrive in this unprecedented situation," she had told the news agency.

Women rights activist Yogita Bhayana, who heads the People Against Rape in India (PARI), said the high rate might also be because of high awareness among women to talk about it and report it.

"There has been an increase because there is also a rise in awareness because women are getting more proactive reporting it and talking about it. Earlier they used to suppress their grievances and the government is also spreading awareness and women get motivated by other women reporting it," she said.

"Because of social media, the reporting of domestic violence has increased. Women have become more vocal and they have less tolerance, which is very good,"

she noted.

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