The authors of this blog are Bhumika Thakur & K. JyotsnaBBA LLB. Student, 2017-2022
 Amity Law School, Amity University Chhatisgarh.

The world is facing tremendous crisis and problems amidst the pandemic, countries are seeing deaths and complications among their population. The countries are under lockdown to prevent such casualties and prevent their people. The pandemic has affected every people in different ways however it is evident from various reports throughout the world that women are the ones who are affected disproportionality. With the announcement of nationwide lock-down the Government has failed to address all the areas possibly falling out and among those one such area unaddressed was domestic violence. In the draconian times of pandemic Covid-19, every person is inside their house to be safe, however, the women are apparently not safe in their own houses. The men are oppressing women leading to domestic violence and abuses intentionally. There is a significant increase in the cases of domestic violence during the hard times, and the major reason for this is the increase of stress due to the loss of jobs and the financial crisis. Unemployment, lack of income, uncertainty about the future, and the fate of the family has created tensions among men which eventually resulted in harming women. Moreover, this problem is not only limited to India, in line with reports suggesting that domestic violence cases and abuses has exponentially increased in many other countries also such as China, the United States of America, the United Kingdom, etc.

Concept of Domestic Violence
The term domestic violence is used by many countries to refer to the abuse in a partner relationships. Initially, this term was used for abuse against wives only however with the gradual increase of time the abuse covered violence to children, women, or any member of household. But more often it is the gender-specific crime, perpetrated by men against women. 
The United Nations defines violence against women as, “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”[1] This violence may include physical, sexual or psychological violence such as assault battery, marital rape, sexual harassment, forced prostitution, coercion, etc. The phenomenon of domestic violence is widely prevalent, but it is usually invisible in the larger public domain. With the introduction of Section 498 A under the Indian Penal Code, 1860[2], the acts under such violence were recognized as criminal offence. Domestic violence issues were globally recognized as human rights violation under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948. The United Nations has transformed one such issue which was perceived as a family criminal problem into an issue of priority international attention. There had been efforts of many non-governmental organizations under the UN forums through various world conferences that specifically recognized violations against women as an issue of human rights. The Vienna Accord, 1994, The Nairobi World Conference, 1985, The Beijing Platform of Action, 1994, and the UN Committee on Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), 1989 have attributed to the work.
In regards with India, laws have been made to provide protection against such criminal offenses against women under the Constitution of India in Article 14, 15(3), 21, 32, 39A, 51A, 226. Furthermore, under the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 the protection of women is provided. The legislation has also specifically enacted The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 with the purpose of providing protection to women from mental, physical, sexual, economic, and verbal abuse. It also aims at providing victims free legal aid services.

Domestic Violence in India

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), every one out of three women globally suffers violence and sexual abuse in their lifetime and at least 30% of all women have suffered sexual and physical abuse by their partners. According to the Crime in India Report, 2018, published by the National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB), every 4.4 minutes, cases of domestic violence are reported against women. The National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 2015 reported that 30% of woman experiences physical violence.
Though there are statistics of domestic violence against women these are not the only numbers, there are so many cases unreported which makes it even worse.

Domestic Violence and Covid-19 Lockdown: Current Scenario

During the tough times of Covid-19 lockdown, there had been a significant increase in the cases of domestic violence all across the globe. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said the risk of intimate partner violence has been increased as people are subject to stay at their homes and to which women and children are the most vulnerable to abuse.
According to WHO’s Regional Officer for Europe, Hans Kluge, the emergency calls by women against violence by their intimate partners has been increased to 60% in April as compared to last year.[3]
Isabel Yordi, Technical Officer for Gender and Health at WHO Europe has said they have received complainants almost from all countries and there is an increase in reports against domestic violence. According to the organization, the abuse often increases during such a crisis.
The UN Agency for sexual and reproductive health agency has an estimation of an increase in the cases of domestic violence up to 31 million if the lockdown extends further for sex months.[4]
The Government of Spain have said, there is an increase of 18% more complaints by the women in the first two weeks of lockdown as compared to the previous years.
Zohra Yousuf, Chief of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has claimed that women are not the only victims to the violence and abuse but also children are prone to this violence and due to the fear of pandemic there are many unreported cases.
In India, the National Commission of Women (NCW) in mid-April suggested the rise of domestic violence cases to almost 100% during the lockdown. The organization received a huge number of emergency calls via e-mails and dedicated WhatsApp numbers. Many activists said that there are many more numbers who are not able to access such helplines. Jayashree Velankar of Jagori, a women’s organization has said that earlier studies suggest, there is an increase in gender-based violence during crisis.[5]


During the times when every person has to unite and fight against such a crisis, some people are just taking out their frustration and tension over the women and children. It is observed from studies also that the crime rate increases during the crisis, some women file complaints against violence but there are many who are unprivileged and do not have access to the helplines. It is also clear that there is an obvious link between the rising domestic violence to mental and health crises, financial distress, and food insecurity. Women are unsafe under their own house with their own partner. The Government should focus on making some fundamental laws to curb such a situation.

[1] Article 1, United Nations, Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women: December 1993
[2] Section 498 A of Indian Penal Code,1860 by the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1983

[3] AFP, “Coronavirus Lockdown, surge in domestic violence, says WHO”, The Hindu, May 7, 2020
[4] Haley Ott, “6 months of coronavirus lockdown could mean 31 million cases of domestic violence, UN says”, CBS News, April 28, 2020, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/domestic-violence-additional-31-million-cases-worldwide/
[5] Shemin Joy, “Coronavirus crisis: No lockdown for domestic violence”, The Deccan Herald, April 26, 2020, https://www.deccanherald.com/specials/insight/coronavirus-crisis-no-lockdown-for-domestic-violence-829941.html