Domestic violence cases increased during pandemic, say experts

Tribune News Service

Patiala, July 23

Cases of domestic violence have increased manifold during the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, victims of such cases, who were women, did not get legal help during the period, said Manjit Kaur, advocate, Punjab and Haryana High Court, during a seminar on “Covid-19 pandemic and gender-based challenges” at Punjabi University here today. Parminder Kaur, Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM), legal services, also attended the event.

While discussing the issue, Manjit said courts during much of the pandemic period remained closed. As such, women had no options for legal aid, she added. Also, the police help was not available for women many times, she said. Police officials told those approaching them that they were busy enforcing Covid-19 related guidelines, she added.

Citing an example, Manjit said the women helpline in Chandigarh received 254 calls from Punjab. “The women helpline number 181 in Punjab was not working in April and May, 2020. As such we received 254 such calls at Chandigarh. Thereafter, the national legal service authority started a special helpline for the purpose,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Punjabi University Vice-Chancellor, Prof Arvind, who presided over the event, said people had to be sensitised about women- related issues.

The Dean (Research) and professor of sociology, Panjab University, Dr Rajesh Gill, said, “Due to digital divide, women particularly at the micro level, have been adversely hit economically and socially both by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown situation.”

“All government efforts and investments in projects aiming at maintaining balance and equality among genders have reverse growth rate during the period. The government lacks comprehensive strategy,” she added.

“Family members can play a positive role in reducing gender disparity prevailing in society,” the CJM said.

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