Spike in domestic violence cases in Punjab amid curfew
The domestic violence cases have seen a sharp spike across Punjab after the imposition of curfew/lockdown last month to check the spread of Covid-19 in the state.
There has been a 21% increase, from 4,709 to 5,695, in cases of crimes against women between February 1 and April 20 this year, and a similar percentage of increase in cases of domestic violence against women (from 3,287 to 3,993) in the same period, police said in a statement. On the other hand, there has been a substantial decrease in registration of cases relating to dowry harassment, rape and eve-teasing cases during the same period.
Director general of police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta said the average number of calls received on ‘DIAL 112’ per day went up to 133 – a whopping 34%, for domestic violence cases during March 20-April 20, from the previous 3 months’ average of 99.33. The per-day increase in total crime against women cases in this period is 30%.
The DGP on Thursday held a video conference with all DSPs of crime against women cell and women helpdesk officials to take stock of the situation and discuss measures to tackle this increase. As per the detailed strategy, presented during the video conference by Gurpreet Deo, ADGP community affairs division, SOPs have been put in place to devise the police’s response mechanism, according to an official release.
The meeting decided that DSP, crime against women cell, will send a daily report in a defined format to track all such complaints and monitor the action taken. The police will coordinate, as needed, with one-stop centres, which are manned by counsellors nominated by the department of social security, women and child development. The services of these counsellors will be utilised, wherever needed, to counsel the victims, perpetrators, and provide necessary protection in case of children. The DGP also issued a stern warning that such cases will not be tolerated and strict action will be taken.
The Punjab State Commission for Women is also receiving 25 to 30 complaints of domestic violence per day ever since March 22 when the curfew was imposed in the state. The commission has received around 800 complaints on its helpline number in a month. “Earlier, if we received 25 calls a day, only three to four calls pertained to domestic violence. But after the curfew was clamped in the state, all the 25 to 30 calls are related to domestic,” said Punjab State Commission for Women chairperson Manisha Gulati.
According to officials dealing with the cases, the maximum cases are pouring in from Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Mohali and Rupnagar districts. A majority of these are from the educated class where working women, who are ordinarily at work, are finding themselves harassed at home and are approaching the commission for help.