A petition has been moved before the Delhi High Court concerning domestic violence and child abuse cases during the nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petition filed by NGO All India Council of Human Rights, Liberties & Social Justice seeks the court’s intervention to ensure adoption and implementation of immediate and effective measures to help victims of domestic violence and child abuse during the lockdown.
The petitioner NGO has asserted that there has been a horrific surge in domestic violence cases since the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdowns in various countries.
It is added that the lockdown is also a breeding ground for child abuse as well since children are deprived of the networks that help them cope, such as their friends, teachers, coaches and relatives who usually provide an escape from their abusive environment.
“..Apart from the public health crisis due to COVID-19, looms another public health and social crisis i.e. Domestic Violence and Child Abuse, also referred to as “Intimate Terrorism” by many. Escalating data suggests that “domestic abuse/violence” is acting like an opportunistic infection, flourishing in the conditions created by the pandemic,” the petitioner has stated.
Stating that in the first 11 days of the lockdown alone, the helpline numbers across the country received about 92,000 calls in connection with domestic abuse and violence, the petitioner has submitted that the health impact of such violence particularly, intimate partner/domestic violence, on women & children is significant.
Such health issues may involve injuries, serious physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health problems, including sexually transmitted infections, HIV, and unplanned pregnancies.
It is stated that the court’s intervention is required in view of the fact that access to other ordinary channels such as courts, police, protection officers, friends, and relatives is now remote.
As a relief to those aggrieved, the petitioner has sought for a dedicated helpline, nodal officer and counselling of women and children.
Setting up temporary shelter homes for protection to women and children is also prayed for.
The matter is likely to be heard by the High Court on Friday.