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PREVENTION OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING PANDEMIC

What is Domestic Violence?

According to the United States Department of Justice Office on Violence against Women, the definition of domestic violence is “a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain control over another intimate partner”. 

It is committed by a person who is from the victim’s domestic circle. Most commonly, the victim is dependent on the offender. It occurs with everyone irrespective of their caste, creed, sex, ethnicity, economic background. Such violence often intensifies from threats and verbal assaults to violence.

Signs of an Abusive relationship (If the victim has experienced):

  • Humiliation
  • Criticism
  • Negligence of the person’s accomplishments
  • Considered as a property
  • Threatening
  • Destroy the belongings
  • Jealous and possessive
  • Limits all accessibility to money, communication, etc.
  • Have fear towards the abuser

Types of Domestic Abuses

  • Physical Abuse : Hitting, biting, slapping, battering, shoving, punching, pulling hair, burning, cutting, pinching, etc. (any type of violent behavior inflicted on the victim). 
  • Sexual Abuse : Abuser coerces or attempts to coerce the victim into having sexual contact or sexual behavior without the victim’s consent.(Includes Marital rape, Attacking Sexual body parts, etc)
  • Emotional Abuse & Intimidation: invalidating or deflating the victim’s sense of self-worth and/or self-esteem.(Includes constant criticism, name-calling, injuring the victim’s relationship with his/her children).
  • Economic Abuse: Abuser makes or tries to make the victim financially reliant. They seek to maintain total control over financial resources, withhold the victim’s access to funds, or prohibit the victim from going to school or work.
  • Verbal Abuse : Coercion, Threats & Blame
  • Social Abuse :Abuser insults or humiliates the victim in front of other people, keeps them isolated from family and friends, or controls what they do and wherever they go.

Domestic Violence During Pandemic:

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic many countries have reported an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violenceUnited Nations Secretary-General AntónioGuterres, noting the “horrifying global surge” has called for a domestic violence “ceasefire”.Pandemics, financial insecurity, stress and uncertainty have led to increased aggression at home. India’s National Commission for Women (NCW) has seen a more than twofold rise in gender-based violence during the lockdown in India. Factors compounding the situation include the confinement, financial worries due to the lockdown, and lack of access to alcohol. The Childline India helpline also has received more than 92,000 calls between 20–31 March, the start of India’s lockdown, asking for protection from abuse and violence.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported thatwomen in India are often afraid to report attacks for fear of being stigmatized, and because they feel unable to overcome institutional barriers in a criminal justice system that offers no protection to victims or witnesses.Thus the problem of domestic abuse needs national attention and appropriate action must be implemented to tackle the same.

Steps that could help tackle Domestic Violence:

  • It is a wise option to keep a friend, neighbor or family in proximity informed in cases of emergency rescues. Discussing about the perpetuator’s accountability with any of the trusted person could be also an appropriate option.
  • It is also advisable that, the persons with abusive, aggressive tendencies, anger management problems should work to keep their stress low. Limiting their exposure anger impulsive situations like media, are also desirable.
  • Connect to a Mental Health Counsellor
  • Contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 for confidential assistance from trained advocates.
  • Take help from Police and a lawyer
  • Create safety plans while encountering difficult situations. (The National Domestic Violence Hotline offers a guide on safety planning.)
  • Find out which places may keep one safe to stay. (During the situations of Pandemic)
  • Stay connected in Social Media to communicate and get a support network from trusted people.
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