Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh has witnessed a high incidence of domestic violence since the outbreak of Coronavirus and the consequent lockdown since April 2020. Prolonged confinement, job losses, financial distress, and mental stress are found to be triggers for violence behaviour behind closed doors.
The women development and child welfare authorities have received 2,494 complaints under the provisions of Domestic Violence Act, 2005 since April 2020 to April 2021. Out of them, Krishna saw the highest number of complaints at 533, followed by 334 in Guntur, 273 in Chittoor, 210 in East Godavari, 191 in Kadapa, 176 in Prakasam, 164 in Visakhapatnam, 158 in West Godavari, 156 in Kurnool, 101 in Srikakulam, 92 in Anantapur, 66 in Nellore and the lowest 40 in Vizianagaram.
The authorities managed to effect compromise in 605 cases at the counselling level. They registered 841 DIRs (domestic incident reports) and got secured orders in the courts in 220 cases, while 632 cases are awaiting such orders. Out of 2,494 cases registered for 13 months, it comes to 191.84 cases per month and 47.96 cases per week on an average.
Earlier, the authorities booked 3,744 cases of domestic violence for a period of five years from April 1, 2015 to March 23, 2020 and reported a monthly average of 62.4 cases. Similarly, from March 23, 2020 to April, 30, 2020,for a period of 39 days, the authorities registered 88 cases of domestic violence.
A comparative study of the number of cases indicates that they are rising abnormally especially during the Covid-19 period as only 62.4 cases on an average per month were registered in the pre-Covid times while the monthly average shot up to a whopping 191.84 cases during Covid-19 times in the state.
Andhra University Prof of Psychology Dr M.V.R. Raju said, “Financial insecurity, mental stress and lack of job security apart from other family issues can be attributed to sharp rise in domestic violence cases during the Covid-19 times in the state.” However, women development and child welfare authorities have a different take on the issue apart from socio-economic factors having their role on rise in the number of cases of domestic violence.
AP Women Development and Child Welfare Director Kritika Shukla said, “As we took up a massive awareness campaign in last April and May, asking women to report on domestic violence on our toll-free no. 181 and at One Stop Centres with an assurance to pursue them and even resolve amicably based on feasibility, they started to approach us resulting in steep rise in the number of cases unlike earlier practice where such awareness was not there. As some women fear that their husbands will be booked if they complain of domestic violence, we are advising our functionaries to deal with the cases appropriately to resolve them based on mutual interest.”
A retired Psychology Professor from Andhra University P.V. Ananda Rao said, “People have to reconcile themselves despite facing hardships for whatever the reasons and lead stress-free life by practising yoga and meditation to maintain calm composure and avoid violence.”