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Coronavirus lockdown: Increase in incidents of domestic violence, 30% of calls to childline pertain to abuse or violence

Harleen Walia further added that the number of calls to childline increased by 50% after the mandatory 21 days lockdown was announced on March 24.

The Child helpline number in India received as many as 92,000 distress calls asking for protection against domestic violence and abuse in the first 11 days of the nationwide lockdown period, imposed to contain the spread of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus in the country.

The data was reportedly shared in an online outreach event organised by the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, led by Smriti Irani. The outreach programme was organised to orient functionaries and organisers working with vulnerable groups.

Harleen Walia, deputy director of Childline India revealed that the CHILDLINE 1098 helpline for children had received 3.07 lakhs calls in between March 20-31, the first week of lockdown, and 30% of these calls (92,105 calls in total) have pleaded protection from abuse and violence against children, as per reports.

Harleen Walia further added that the number of calls increased by 50% after the mandatory 21 days lockdown was announced on March 24.

This data was shared on Tuesday during an orientation workshop for district-based child protection units and attended by senior Women and Child Development ministry officials.

India has been put under complete lockdown, a mass effort to save lives from the deadly infection, but what is being seen as a downside of this lockdown is that it has left the vulnerable group at risk. Even though we seem to have progressed, this confinement is throwing up the ‘real’ mindsets of partners.

The National Commission for Women (NCW), which receives complaints of domestic violence from across the country, has recorded more than twofold rise in gender-based violence in the national Coronavirus lockdown period. The total complaints from women rose from 116 in the first week of March (March 2-8), to 257 in the final week (March 23-April 2), including 69 domestic violence complaints by the women.

“Domestic violence cases have doubled than what it was before the lockdown. The cases of domestic violence are high in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana and Punjab,” says NCW chief Rekha Sharma.

The main reason for the rise of domestic violence, she says, is that the men are at home and they are taking out their frustration on women and they refuse to participate in domestic work. Women are also confined within the four walls of the house and they cannot share their grief with anybody.

The victims are also scared of complaining to the police as they fear repurcussions. Sharma says: “Most of the complaints are coming via email. My team is working 24/7 and we are shifting the victims to hostels or help them to reach their parents’ home.”

Complaints of rape or attempted rape have also risen sharply from two to 13, while cases of domestic violence have increased from 30 to 69 over the same comparative period.

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