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Amid Coronavirus lockdown 'domestic violence' victims finding it hard to seek help

News Agencies | Updated on: 18 April 2020, 7:39 IST
domestic violence

The lockdown enforced in the country to contain coronavirus has made it difficult for many victims of domestic violence to escape abuse or even call for help.

"Before the lockdown, victims would come to us or call us when their husband was not at home. But during the lockdown, the husband is 24x7 at home and if the house is small it becomes difficult for the victim to call us," said Dr Bharti Sharma, secretary and counsellor of NGO Shakti Shalini.

"To avoid getting caught, many times the victim sends a text message on WhatsApp or call from the washroom. We were receiving one-two calls a day when the lockdown started. Now we receive four-five calls in a day. The calls are very desperate calls. The women are not just physically abused but also emotionally and mentally abused," Sharma told ANI.

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The NGO member said it was difficult for the NGO to reach the victims during the lockdown.

"At this point in time, we are mostly providing psychosocial counselling. We are trying to help the victim deal with their mental agony so that they can come to us after lockdown," Sharma said.

She said recently the NGO had rescued one woman with two small daughters. "Her brother called us from Nepal saying his sister was facing a lot of physical and mental abuse from her in-laws. We took immediate action and rescued them and made sure they reach Shakti Shalini shelter home," she said.

The NGO received another call from Noida seeking help to get her out of the house. The victim had sent the NGO pictures of physical abuse done to her. Sharma said counsellor helped her to call up the police and one policeman gave her his personal mobile number to call him in case of distress. Police also talked to the husband, Dr Sharma narrated.

Sharma said its landlines has been converted into 24X7 helplines for women in distress.

Members of another NGO Jagori said they have been receiving 8-10 calls in a week from victims seeking help from domestic violence.

Suneeta Thakur, a counsellor and legal advisor in Jagori, told ANI that the NGO is receiving calls from women who complain of verbal and physical abuse at home.

"We provide them with counselling and ask them to keep themselves safe at home. Women have not been able to take help during the lockdown. Earlier they could call us or police. . We can't send them to a safe shelter during this time. We ask them to call police but many times they don't want to call the police," Thakur said.


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First published: 18 April 2020, 7:39 IST