Womens Rights Watch 6 April 2020 - Domestic Violence During the Lockdown

WOMEN’S RIGHTS WATCH 2020

6th April 2020

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE DURING THE LOCKDOWN

During this lockdown period women are at much greater risk of domestic violence than ever before because they are stuck together in permanent confinement with their perpetrators.  The lockdown in Zimbabwe will last between 30 March and 19 April 2020, and perhaps longer.  Living so closely together for an extended period exacerbates tensions between couples which increases the likelihood of domestic violence.  The risk is much higher where there is an existing history of abuse.

Countries throughout the world are recording spikes in the incidence of domestic violence.  In France domestic violence has risen by 36% – and two cases of femicide were reported since the beginning of the lockdown.  The French government will be paying for safety shelters in places such as hotels. Temporary counselling centres are being set up inside shops to make it convenient for women to access them when they go out to buy essential supplies.  In the United Kingdom the National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25% increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown.  A special emergency number has been provided during the lockdown and police have been trained to look out for domestic violence distress calls.  More places of refuge are being set up and reports to the police can result in the abuser being removed from the home.  In Australia there has been a 75% rise in Google searches relating to help for domestic violence since the start of the lockdown.  The Australian government has provided a US$142 million fund to tackle domestic violence.

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