Lockdown and Domestic Violence – A Nationwide Increase

Category : COVID-19 | Sub Category : Lockdown Posted on 2020-04-30 00:00:51

Lockdown and Domestic Violence – A Nationwide Increase

According to many Criminologists across the world like Gabriel Tarde, Bonger and others; social crimes occur more during times of Pandemic or war or economic turbulences. During the Industrial Revolution in the UK in the 1880s, many manual labourers lost jobs. At that time domestic violence increased in the country. Due to lack of adequate salary during Lockdown period in India from April 2020, food and clothing got constricted and families compromised with bare necessities. From the time Lockdown started in India, majorities of families are in mental depression. The COVID 19 Pandemic has categorically brought the economy to a standstill position.

Employees of private companies are working online and balancing the domestic needs at odd hours of the day. The result is serious mental unrest and quarrels with wife and children. The childline India received more than 92000 calls in the last 20 days in Northern states in India. While the fathers who are capable of using physical force are in the houses for more hours and the victims, the wives and children are helpless and cannot go out. The National Commission for Women (NCW) received more number of complaints about the last 25 days than before.

Between March 23rd 2020, to April 1st 2020, 257 complaints were filed before the National Commission for Women (NCW). That shows with an increase of lockdown, the frustration of bread earners are badly delegated to the wives and children. Both the vulnerable groups are helpless.

Neither are the women and children being able to make private calls to the police, neither can they go to alternative friends or relatives homes as lockdown resulted in lack of public transport. The helplessness is increasing and increasing. Other countries like Brazil, China, and Italy are facing the same problems. In recent Workshop on Social Justice Day on 20th February 2020, the stakeholders echoed the same sentiments although the COVID 19 Lockdown did not start at that time. Krish Das, Deputy Secretary, US Consulate General, introduced the workshop and said the problem of domestic violence is not only the problem of India or developing countries but is a problem of capitalist countries like the USA, Canada and also Japan. At the end of the Workshop, there was a panel discussion where the panellists included Dr Souvik Chatterji (HOD, Law, JISU), Advocate of Minority affairs and Member of Social organization. It was said that laws are enacted for social change but the success of the laws are dependent on the change of mindset of the society.

As far as solutions are concerned certain states in India like Kerala have created a WhatsApp number to lodge complaints against domestic violence during Lockdown period. The 24-hour helpline is started by Directorate of Women and Child Development. Even the Chairperson Leela Ganguly, Chairperson (West Bengal Commission for Women’s rights), has given her helpline number to victims of domestic violence on 11th April 2020.

The husbands and alleged offenders in every house require serious counselling. Lockdown due to COVID-19 is an emergency. Nothing is there in the hands of the wives and children. So there is no point in abusing them and create a situation where life looks more miserable to them. Frequent seminar, workshops and online webinars should be conducted to reach the message to millions of Indians.

By: Dr Souvik Chatterji (Associate Professor and HOD, Department of Juridical Sciences, JIS University)

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