Over 4,300 cases of domestic violence have been reported to the National Commission for Women (NCW) since March 2020, with Uttar Pradesh and Delhi topping the list, according to Deccan Herald.
The NCW has reportedly received 4,350 complaints through email, phone, and a dedicated WhatsApp number between March 1 and September 18 since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to statistics that the Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) presented during the Monsoon session of the Parliament, the highest number of complaints were received from Uttar Pradesh (968), followed by Delhi with 784.
Maharashtra ranks third with 458 cases while Bihar (254) and Haryana (229) stand at the fourth and fifth place respectively. Karnataka has reported 137 cases during this period.
Speculations rose that the number of domestic violence cases could be more than the numbers showed since a large number of cases normally go unreported, while some approach other agencies like the police or state women commissions.
The trend showed that incidents of domestic violence increased during the Unlock period.
July reported the highest number of complaints – 660 – followed by June (537) when the Centre started opening up the economy in a phased manner.
The NCW had in April noted an almost 100 percent increase in domestic violence cases during the lockdown since most people were staying at home or working from home.
Data on crimes against women
Meanwhile, the NCW said it received 2,914 complaints of crimes committed against women in July this year, the highest since November 2018 when the #MeToo movement was at its peak in the country.
According to data by the NCW, 660 complaints of domestic violence were received in July alone. Of the 2,914 complaints, 774 were received under the right to live with dignity clause.
The right to live with dignity clause takes into account the emotional abuse of women.
The number of complaints received in July have been highest since November 2018 – a period when the #MeToo movement was at its peak in the country. In November 2018, the commission had received 3,339 complaints.
Among states, Uttar Pradesh recorded more than half of the total complaints at 1,461 followed by Delhi at 338. The second-highest number of complaints were received under the protection of women against domestic violence category at 660, the data showed.
There were 493 complaints of harassment of married women and dowry harassment, the data showed.
According to the data, 146 complaints of police apathy towards women and 110 complaints of cyber crime were received by the commission. As many as 148 complaints of rape and attempt to rape were received while 50 complaints of sexual harassment were received by the commission in July this year, the data showed.
Total complaints at the NCW
According to the Ministry of WCD, the NCW received a total of 13,410 complaints, including that of domestic violence, between March 1 and September 18.
Uttar Pradesh recorded the highest number of complaints (5,470) followed by Delhi (1697), and Maharashtra (865). Karnataka had reported 322 complaints.
“From the beginning of the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCW launched an advertisement campaign through electronic media and social media inviting women who have suered any kind of violence to come forward and report it.
Further, in addition to handling complaints received through regular modes, NCW has also launched a WhatsApp number 7217735372 on April 10 for reporting domestic violence cases,” Deccan Herald quoted Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani as saying.
“The additional modes provided by NCW facilitated reporting of cases, including from women who had been experiencing violence at home for the past several years. The complaints received by NCW are acted upon by coordinating with victims, police and other authorities to provide necessary assistance,” she added.