The National Commission for Women has received over 250 complaints since the country-wide lockdown was imposed to control the spread of coronavirus, out of which 69 are cases of domestic violence which indicates an alarming rise in such cases, its chairperson Rekha Sharma said on Thursday.
Since March 24, a total of 257 complaints related to various offences against women were received, out of which 69 were of domestic violence, she said.
State-wise analysis of the data showed that the maximum number of complaints were received from Uttar Pradesh (90), followed by Delhi (37).
Thirty domestic violence complaints were received between March 2 and March 8, while 58 such complaints were received between March 23 and 30, according to the data.
Complaints of other crimes like rape or attempt to rape and dowry harassment saw a slight reduction in the mentioned period, the NCW data showed.
Sharma said the number of domestic violence cases must be much higher but the women are scared to complain due to constant presence of their abuser at home.
She said from March 24 till April 1, the NCW has received 69 domestic violence complaints and it is increasing by the day.
“Women are not approaching the police because they think that if they take her husband away, the in-laws will torture her. Because of the lockdown, women are not able to reach out to the police. They don’t even want to go to the police because they are afraid that once their husband comes out of the police station, he will again torture her and she can’t even move out,” she said.
“Earlier women could go to their parents’ place but now they are unable to reach. The NCW is in touch with these complainants,” she added.
Women rights activists said they have also received numerous complaints of domestic violence from women since the enforcement of the lockdown.
Activist Kavita Krishnan, also the secretary of All India Progressive Women’s Association, said vulnerable women could have moved to safer places if the government had given some warning of the lockdown.
“All the women (domestic violence victims) who contacted me said had they known (about the lockdown), they would have tried to get out earlier and be somewhere safer,” she said.
“The only thing to do is help and rescue domestic violence survivors. Their situation is worse now in the lockdown,” Krishnan added.
According to Vani Subramanian, who is a member of the women’s group Saheli Trust, “captivity anyway drives people crazy and abusive situations only make it worse”.
Ranjana Kumari, the director of Centre for Social Research, said everyone is at home due to the lockdown and women are not getting the courage to contact for help.
“It is not a good situation for women,” Kumari said.