With domestic abuse cases going up significantly during the ongoing nationwide lockdown, the National Commission for Women has launched a WhatsApp number — 7217735372 — to report cases of domestic violence.
Between March 24 and April 1, the NCW received 257 complaints related to various offences against women. 69 related to domestic violence.
In a Twitter message on Friday, the NCW urged women in distress or experiencing domestic violence to message the agency on the number.
Asked about the sudden spurt in the complaints of domestic abuse, Rekha Sharma, Chairperson of the NCW, says that one of the reasons is that many men are finding it frustrating to stay confined to their homes, while some don’t want to share the responsibility of domestic chores.
“Women can’t go out to share their complaints,” she said, adding that most of the complaints are reaching them via email as people are scared of going to the police.
She assured that her “team is working 24/7 and we are shifting the victims to hostels or helping them to reach their parents’ home.”
The NCW has also appealed to women to reach out to their nearest police stations or call the State Women’s Commission for support.
Besides this helpline against domestic violence, the government has also set up other formal avenues to extend help to women.
The provision of cash transfers and ration support are also aimed at sustaining families and reducing financial stress on households, leading to lesser violence.
Instances of domestic violence have been on the rise all over the world post the lockdown amid the Coronavirus scare.
France reported 36% increase in the number of domestic abuse cases in Paris and a 32% rise in the rest of the country since its lockdown.
In China, a Beijing-based NGO that works to combat violence against women has seen a surge in helpline calls since early February, according to the New York Times.
In Spain, the emergency number for domestic violence received 18 per cent more calls in the first two weeks of lockdown than in the same period a month earlier.
The United Nation has also flagged the issue while calling for immediate action to combat the global surge in domestic violence.
“I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic,” Secretary General António Guterres said on Twitter.
(With inputs from PTI)