Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:
- Role of women and women’s organization, population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and State
COVID-19 and Domestic Violence
The lockdown imposed by authorities in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic has imposed stricter control on one’s mobility and put women in abusive relationships at extremely high risk of damage from physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
Do You Know?
- 67% of the world’s healthcare workers are women and thus are naturally more prone to infection.
- Women are burdened with three times more unpaid care work than men, which increases during lockdown
Global scenario of Women Violence
- Globally, violence against women affects one in three women.
- Of all female murders, an overwhelming 82 per cent happen in their marital homes, and are committed by an intimate partner or a family member.
Women violence in India – findings by the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16)
- 30% women in India in the age group of 15-49 have experienced physical violence since the age of 15
- About 31 per cent of married women have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence by their spouses.
- 6 per cent women in the age group 15-49 years have experienced sexual violence at least once in their lifetime
Consequences of lockdown (in the wake of COVID-19) on Women Violence
- Increases the vulnerability to sexual violence
- Data from west African countries in the wake of the 2014 Ebola outbreak showed that there was a steady increase in rape, sexual assault and violence against women and girls.
- Sexual violence increased in these regions by 40per cent over a period of one year
- Increases domestic violence on women:
- In the province of Hubei in Wuhan, China, which is the heart of the first outbreak of the Coronavirus, domestic violence reports to police tripled during the February lockdown period
- In Brazil state-run shelters are estimating 40-50 per cent rise in demands from endangered women.
- European countries have reported 20-30 per cent increases in calls to domestic violence helplines
Impact of lockdown on domestic violence in India
- National Commission of Women has recorded 291 complaints of domestic violence in March
- Closure of Counselling Centres: Under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act (PWDVA), it is these centres and not the police who are first responder for women who experience domestic violence.
- Non-functional NGOs: The hotlines run by NGOs (whom women report such cases) are silent – attributed probably to continuous presence of the abuser at home
- Given the above situation there is now a lack of alternative alert system for women abuse
- The state governments need to declare helplines as “essential services” that should remain open during lockdowns
- Disseminate information about gender-based violence and publicise resources and services available.
- Increase resourcing for NGOs that respond to domestic violence and aid — including shelter, counselling, and legal aid — to survivors.
- Encourage the equitable sharing of domestic tasks at home.
- Provide for the continued provision of healthcare services based on medical research and tests — unrelated to the virus — for women and girls
- Ensure women’s timely access to necessary and comprehensive sexual & reproductive health services during the crisis, such as maternal health services, safe abortion etc.
Examples from other Countries worth emulating
- French government will pay for up to 20,000 hotel nights for survivors and finance pop-up counselling centres at grocery stores for easy access to abuse survivors.
- In Spain, women are being given codewords such as “Mask-19” in pharmacy stores, which can act as an alarm-response mediator.
Connecting the dots:
- Gender wage gap post the crisis
- Intersectional Feminism