Increase of Domestic Violence Against Women During Lockdown

"Sadly there are reports from many countries of an increase in domestic violence since the COVID-19 outbreak began. As people are asked to stay at home, the risk of intimate partner violence is likely to increase”[1].
                                                      -Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, (Director of WHO)

Position of women decide the Development and the culture of a Country”. This impliedly shows that the country would develop automatically once there are welfare measures taken for the betterment of the people, especially women. India is the second-largest populated country with 1.3 billion people, out of which 48% includes the female population. Being such a big country does not mean that the people of India are leading a prosperous life. India has become one of the dangerous countries in terms of safety to females. many cases are under-reported because of the stigma attached to it and a broken justice system. "Gender-based violence is violence involving men and women, in which the female is usually the victim, and which is derived from unequal power relationships between men and women. Violence is directed specifically against a woman because she is a woman, or affects women disproportionately. It includes, but is not limited to physical, sexual, psychological harm (including intimidation, suffering, coercion and I or deprivation of liberty within the family, or within the general community)”[2].

What does domestic violence mean?

Section-3 of Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005 defines domestic violence as any act, omission or commission or conduct of the respondent shall constitute domestic violence in case it—
(a) harms or injures or endangers the health, safety, life, limb or well‑being, whether mental or physical, of the aggrieved person or tends to do so and includes causing physical abuse, sexual abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, and economic abuse; or
(b) harasses, harms, injures or endangers the aggrieved person with a view to coerce her or any other person related to her to meet any unlawful demand for any dowry or other property or valuable security; or
(c) has the effect of threatening the aggrieved person or any person related to her by any conduct mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b); or
(d) otherwise injures or causes harm, whether physical or mental, to the aggrieved person[3]

Domestic violence is abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship or violence towards someone who we are in a relationship with, be it a wife, daughter, mother. Domestic violence can be emotional, physical, sexual, and financial. Section-498A and 304B of Indian Penal Code deal with domestic violence but in 2005 the judiciary came up with Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, which tries to provide effective protection of rights of women guaranteed under constitution who are victims of violence of any kind occurring within the family[4].

Emotional abuse is nothing but an abuse which may affect the mental capability of a person that leads to suicide. This may include abuse in the form of continuous taunting, making derogatory comments, having illegal affairs in front of the victim etc. In the Physical abuse, men show their hand power against women. In the physical abuse intention plays an important role to decide some of the cases. This includes slapping, hitting, physically restraining a woman not to go outside the house, and also not providing basic facilities like food, etc. Sexual abuse is one of issue major issue in India. Because in India Marital rape is not a crime and courts are not willing to look into the issue of personal matters. So by having this advantage men’s are forcing women to have intercourse even though woman is not willing. This abuse is nothing but forcing a women to fulfill men’s sexual desire.

The main factors that perpetuate domestic violence against women are:

· Underrepresentation of women in power, politics, and in the legal and medical professions.

· Domestic violence cases are treated as the family internal affairs

· Limited organization of women as a political force.

Women are dependent on men in their whole life that is, in childhood, they are dependent on father, after marriage they are dependent on husband and in their old age they are dependent on the sons. Due to which men started treating women as an object instead of a human being. Men’s are forgetting that their birth is from women. In Sanskrit there is a saying that “Vinastreeya jananam nasti, vinastreeya Gamanam nasti, Vinastreeya srusti yeva nasti[5]” which means that without women there is no birth, no life, and no universe. Today that woman is being subjected to pains because of men.

According to the Crimes in India report, 2018 by the National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB), a crime is recorded against women in India every 1.7 minutes and a woman is subjected to domestic violence every 4.4 minutes. It also topped the categories of violence against women according to the report. As per the data, 89,097 cases related to crimes against women were registered across India in 2018, higher than the 86,001 cases registered in 2017[6].

WHO’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said countries “are reporting up to a 60% increase in emergency calls by women subjected to violence by their intimate partners in April this year, compared to last”[7]. “As soon as the lockdown happened, the calls at our centres went up dramatically. We believe the number of women who are suffering are much higher because only a fraction of women who face domestic violence can actually reach out for help. Fewer still can do so during this unprecedented lockdown scenario when they don’t have any respite from the tormentor and at times no opportunity to even make a call in private,” said Swayam founder Anuradha Kapoor[8]. “Everyday domestic violence, both at parental home and marital home is a huge problem. Women are emotionally, sexually, physically, and financially abused all year round. But this lockdown is the worst time they may have ever faced because they cannot get away from the abuse,” said Kakoli Bhattacharya, a women’s rights crusader[9].

In 25 days between March 23 and April 16, the National Commission for Women (NCW) received 239 complaints, mainly through email and a dedicated WhatsApp number. This is almost double the number of complaints (123) received during the previous 25 days, from February 27 to March 22[10]. Since everyone are staying in houses all the men are aiming at women and creating mess over them.

Causes for domestic violence during lockdown:

Patriarchy: The stigma attached to the society that men are more powerful so that they can control the women. With this stigma, the men are considering women as inferiors.
Economic cause: During lockdown many daily worker and non-essential shop owners lost their employment due to which the homes have an economic crisis and also recently many states allows the sale of liquor, which is also main cause for domestic violence, where women’s are forced to give money for buying liquor by men.
Society influence: Everyone has the impact and influence from the society. We will learn many things from society like respecting elders, women and so on. If was not happen in the society then this will leads to dowry harassment and honour killings.
Ego Issues: If the women are bread-winner of the family then it may cause ego-clashes with the men.


Domestic violence will lead to psychological problems in the minds of women. And also many of the cases are un-reported because of stereotype behaviors. Many women thought that if we report the case then the surrounding community will look them down due to which many cases were un-reported.

· The suppressed or the sufferers have to break the stigmas and have to report the cases.

· The media has to bring some support and have to sensitive the public.

· NGO's have to create awareness on gender equality and have to teach the consequences of domestic violence.

· The law should have to make stringent rules.

     Kotta Naga Anjaneya Chaitanya, a 2nd-year law student at the Christ University, Bangalore, and he is currently pursuing B.A.LL.B.


[1] Coronavirus lockdown: WHO says domestic violence on rise, asks nations to take measures, Economic Times, April 5, 2020
[2] UNFPA Gender Theme Group, 1998 United Nations population fund Website” -
[3] Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act,2005 (section-3)
[4] The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, No: 43 of 2005, Act of Parliament, 2005.
[5] Bibek Debroy, Mahabharata, penguin publications, volume-1, 6ed. Pg:138-140.

[8]Suburb Niyogi, Domestic violence on the rise in Kolkata, women fail to reach out for help,  TOI,  May 10 2020.

[9] Ibid 6
[10] Shemin Joy, Coronavirus Crisis: No lockdown for domestic violence, DH, April 26 2020.

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