Domestic Violence & Its Impact on Covid-19

The author of this blog is Amulya Anand, a 2nd-year student at  National University of Study & Research in Law, Ranchi.

Domestic violence in today’s world is the most common problem under the violence against women. In simpler terms, it can be defined as all acts of physical, sexual, psychological or economic violence that may be committed by a family member or an intimate partner. Usually, married women are more prone to fall in the mouth of domestic violence. The most important reason that has led to women violence is alcoholism. It has been found that men consuming a high amount of alcohol tend to have more assaultive behaviour and will eventually perform abuse to their wives.[1]
With the announcement of nationwide lockdown on March 24, 2020 government failed to create certain securities within many parts of India, one such area that went unaddressed was domestic violence. According to the World Health Organization, one in every three women across the globe experience physical and/or sexual abuse by their partners.
According to Crime in India Report 2018, published 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. Also, 89,097 cases related to crimes against women were registered across India in 2018.
Restricted by the lockdown, social distancing, economic uncertainties, anxieties caused by the pandemic, domestic violence has increased globally. Across the world, India infamous for gender-based violence ranked the fourth worst country for gender equality, according to public perception which shows the following trend.
With the commencement of the lockdown, the National Commission of Women noted a rise in the number of domestic violence complaints received by mail. It has received 310 grievances of domestic violence and 885 complaints for other forms of violence against women, many of which are domestic in nature- such as bigamy, polygamy, dowry death and harassment for dowry.
When the government decides to impose such an action due to the increase in the number of death toll of people to crises such as Covid-19, addressing domestic violence must be prioritised. In a country like India, it seems the government lacks to formally conflate domestic violence into the public health consequences, into the public health preparedness and emergency response plans against the pandemic.
In a country like India there are millions of women who have suffered and continue to suffer at the cost of their so-called husbands and other members of the family. According to the data of the National Family Health Survey on the experience of sexual or physical abuse, it was found that married women are more likely to experience sexual or physical violence by husband in comparison to others. People who are got trapped in the domestic violence and sexual assault in this ongoing pandemic in such a period where the violence of sexual harassment have sharply risen, extra funding for theses causes are critical.
The service providers of domestic violence across the country are suffering staffing and funding challenges related to the outgoing COVID-19, also there has been a tremendous rise in the services involving crisis intervention, traditional housing, shelter and legal assistance. The centres of domestic violence are in need of funding so that they can shift their services to virtual from in-person which would probably help them to meet the emergency needs of survivors. This restrains on resources is expected to deeply impact the people living in rural areas such as villages.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone anywhere, yet this trouble is often denied, excused or overlooked. It is that violence thrives in the absence of respect for human rights, democracy and good governance but however no society, no state, no country is immune. The violence which takes place within the territory of the house, it is observable that the victims of such violence would be the family members. That’s why it is sometimes said that domestic violence is an abuse which evident itself when any of the family members violates another mentally, physically or psychologically. 
Domestic violence may take place between husband and wife, child and parent, people of the same sex as well as the people of different sex[2]. Overall it can be said to a preliminary stage of a crime of power and abuse. It is not consensual but rather a pattern of behaviour used by an individual to maintain coercive control over the other[3]. It need not be physical in nature instead it may be mental, emotional or psychological. The violence against women can take up in various forms such as public trafficking, female foeticide or social disgrace[4]. But generally it includes all kinds of threat of abuse of physical, sexual, verbal, emotional and economical that can harm or cause injury to the health, safety to life, either physical or mental of the indignant person[5].
To understand why exactly domestic violence occurs, first of all, we need to inspect the psychological arrangement or background of culprits. Violence towards women occurs in a specific cultural context of discrimination against women includes physical aggression which has been tolerated and often legitimized.
Men may show brutality when they feel like they have been attacked or threatened by some interaction with a woman who intentionally touches on an area of low self-regard. The interlinked pressures whether external or internal which can create a culprit of domestic violence. Culprits are usually young, unemployed, and problematic and of low self-regard, also there are mostly those who have themselves experienced abuse of various types. However, these factors don't clarify their abusive behaviour.
The culprit’s main goal is to attain control and power over their dear partner. For doing so, culprits usually plan and take advantage of forceful tactics aimed at inculcating shame, fear or helplessness in the minds of the victim. Another part of this program is to change randomly the list of expectations or protocols the victims must need in order to avoid abuse. The abuser’s constant humiliation, intimidation or demands on their partner are productive in initiating dependence and fear. It is essential to note that culprits may also enrol themselves in reckless acts of domestic violence and that not all culprits act in such a systematic or planned manner[6].
In our society, domestic violence is bursting more due to this outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. It is available everywhere and nowhere is this emission more severe than right behind the doors of our homes. Behind closed doors of our homes and across our country, women are being ill-treated, beaten or even killed. It is happening in towns, cities, rural areas even in metropolitan cities. Also, it is crossing all social categories, genders, ethnic lines and age groups. Rather we can say it is becoming a legacy being passed from one generation to another.
We can say that women are usually in big risk in the place where they should be secure within their families. For many, home is a place where they suffer a dominion of violence or fear at the hands of somebody close to them, somebody on whom she should be able to trust. Those victimized suffer psychologically, physically as well as mentally. They are also unable to voice their own opinions and make decisions or safe them from fear of consequences. Hence, it is the denial of their fundamental rights and their lives are stolen by the threat of domestic violence they are made to undergo.

[1] Macionis J, Richard Gelles (2010) Violence in the American Family.
[3] Rima Bhardwaj, Domestic Violence in Marriage: in the light of theories of Feminist Jurisprudence,
[6] Rima Bhardwaj, Domestic Violence in Marriage: in the light of theories of Feminist Jurisprudence,