For the month of July this year, the National Commission for women received 2,914 complaints of crimes committed against women, a spike from June’s data of 2,043 complaints as per data. This number is the highest since November 2018, when the #MeToo movement was at its peak in the country. During that time, the commission had received 3,339 complaints.

Also Read: You Can Use This Domestic Abuse Hand Signal To Alert Others

What the Data Shows

According to the data, the highest number of complaints (around 774 complaints) were received under the right to live with dignity clause. The right to live with dignity clause takes into account the emotional and mental abuse of women. A total of 660 complaints were received under the protection of women against domestic violence category. The data further revealed 493 complaints of harassment of married women and dowry harassment. There were 146 complaints of police apathy towards women and 110 complaints of cyber-crime received. Then were the 148 complaints of rape and attempt to rape, in addition to 50 complaints of sexual harassment that were received by the commission in July this year, the data showed. The highest number of complaints were recorded from Uttar Pradesh. The state recorded more than half of the total complaints at 1,461, followed by Delhi at 338.

Also Read: Domestic Violence: When Courage Triumphs And Survivors Speak Out

The Rising Cases of Violence Against Women

The pandemic has undoubtedly unleashed a volley of troubles on the world. But while its impact on businesses and industries has been dwelt upon in detail, one issue that seems to have slipped through the cracks is its impact on women. The virus has dealt a severe blow to women of all ages. And given the helpless situation of being stuck indoors due to the lockdown, it has also seen a sharp rise in cases of domestic abuse against women. Domestic violence cases across the globe increased by 20% during the lockdown, as per the UN, which termed this rise a “shadow pandemic”.

In India, as per NCW data, most of the domestic violence cases were reported from states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab. As per various reports, the starting months (March-April) of the lockdown in Delhi saw around 1,600 women calling emergency helpline numbers to report domestic violence. A study done on the district-month level complaints showed a 131% increase in domestic violence complaints in May 2020 in districts with stricter lockdown measures (red zones) compared to those that had more relaxed lockdown norms (green zones). According to the report, red zone districts also experienced a 184% increase in cybercrime complaints relative to green zone districts in May 2020.

Measures taken by Government and Other Organisations

On April 24, noting the seriousness of the situation and in response to a petition filed by the All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties and Social Justice, the Delhi High Court directed the Delhi government and the Centre to ensure effective implementation of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. In Uttar Pradesh, the police has launched a helpline number for domestic violence victims.

On the other hand, the Kerala government and the NCW have launched a WhatsApp number to report domestic violence. Several NGOs and Helplines have been operating 24 hours to help or counsel victims of domestic violence. They either try to transfer them into a secure place, or/and provide counselling over the phone or on an online medium. In a recent move, Twitter India also launched certain search prompts, in which people searching for domestic violence-related keywords would be directed to relevant information from the Ministry of Women and Child Development and National Commission for Women.

The NCW WhatsApp helpline number is 7217735372.

Also Read: Know The Sociological Factors Which Contribute To Women Facing Domestic Violence

Dyuti Gupta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV.

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