Amid the COVID-19 pandemic many countries have reported an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violence. The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic abuse as a "shadow pandemic" alongside Covid-19. Domestic Violence cases have increased by 20% during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser.
Pandemics, financial insecurity, stress and uncertainty have led to increased aggression at home, with abusers able to control large amounts of their victims' daily lives. As stated by the French Secretary of Equality Marlene Schiappa, "Confinement is a breeding ground for domestic abuse."
Domestic violence and sexual exploitation, which is already an epidemic across the world, spiked when households were placed under the increased strains that arose from security, health and money worries, and cramped and confined living conditions. More domestic violence helplines and shelters across the world reported rising calls for help.
India too has seen more than a twofold rise in gender-based violence during the nationwide. Between 23 March 2020 and 16 April 2020 National Commission for Women registered 587 domestic violence complaints, a ~45% increase from the previous 25 days. Factors compounding the situation included the confinement, financial worries due to the lockdown, and lack of access to alcohol. The virus mirrored the pre-existing patriarchal notions and magnified the discrimination and pre-existing inequalities. There has also been a threefold rise in police apathy towards women complaints, with the police busy with lockdown orders.
Founded in 1981, AWAG is active on addressing the issue of violence against women through various approaches wherein raising awareness on gender abuse among the participating communities is considered to be the most vital step in the entire process.
Thus, a series meetings to spread awareness related to gender abuse and means of combating it were conducted for the participating communities. In addition, inputs on maintaining respiratory hygiene and so also that of their surroundings was also touched upon. Strict adherence of wearing facemasks as well as maintaining social distancing at such times was also conveyed to them.