The number of domestic violence cases have been on the rise in India since lockdown. Data from the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) revealed that the highest cases of domestic violence have been reported in Uttarakhand, with 144 reported cases. Out of This was followed by 79 cases in Haryana, and 69 in Delhi. Although majority of reported cases are from women, men are victims of domestic violence as well. It is very likely that a large number of cases are also going unreported due to fear of the perpetrator or lack of resources.
Past studies have shown a pattern of increase in domestic violence rates during extreme events like natural disasters and pandemics. This is the result of increased sources of stress like economic imbalance, physical isolation and confinement, and disrupted businesses.
Although the lockdown is vital for combatting the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it has also had detrimental impacts on other aspects of life. The increase in domestic violence cases is not just restricted to India. Abusers are being violent more frequently and with more severity. In addition, there has been an increase in first time abusers during lockdown. More and more people around the globe are falling victim to domestic violence, often which is repeated and perpetrated frequently. This has detrimental impacts on the victim’s physical and mental health. Experiencing verbal, physical, or sexual abuse from a partner have been found to lead to depression, anxiety, flashbacks and recurring nightmares and eating disorders along with other social dysfunctions.
In order to protect the mental and physical well-being of those experiencing violent situations at home, effective implementations of acts like Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 are required. This act mandates utilizing media for creating widespread awareness about domestic violence helplines and help centers, along with measures of de-escalating violent situations at home.
Das, M., Das, A., & Mandal, A. (2020). Examining the impact of lockdown (due to COVID-19) on Domestic Violence (DV): An evidences from India. Asian journal of psychiatry, 54, 102335. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102335
Vora, M., Malathesh, B. C., Das, S., & Chatterjee, S. S. (2020). COVID-19 and domestic violence against women. Asian journal of psychiatry, 53, 102227. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ajp.2020.102227
Sanga S., McCrary J. (2020) The Impact of the Coronavirus lockdown on domestic violence. SSRN journal. https://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3612491