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Coronavirus lockdown | Pune zilla parishad plans tough action to check domestic violence

To counter the increasing cases of domestic violence during the current COVID-19 lockdown, the Pune Zilla Parishad has borrowed a leaf from the virus prevention handbook.

Abusive husbands and wife-beaters across Pune district now face institutional quarantine if there is a complaint of domestic violence.

Coronavirus lockdown | Rise in domestic violence, police apathy: NCW

Surge in cases

“Globally, there has been a sharp surge in domestic violence cases during the pandemic. So, we have taken this proactive step to preclude similar cases from occurring in the Pune rural region. The definition of a particular case is as given by the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005 and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Nirbhaya Act),” said Ayush Prasad, Chief Executive Officer, Pune Zilla Parishad, while speaking to The Hindu.

Mr. Prasad said as there was a prohibition on selling liquor during the lockdown, there was a strong possibility of alcoholics getting restive and turning violent as a result of denial.

“Along with the COVID-19 pandemic outside, there is a ‘shadow pandemic’ raging inside homes. The lockdown means that a woman cannot step out of the house to escape her abusive spouse. So, by this order, the tormentors would be transferred to an institutional quarantine facility, which could mean a town hall or a village lodge or any other facility,” the official said, observing that this would also ensure that the woman would continue to be safe at home.

Coronavirus lockdown | NCW launches domestic violence helpline

A vigilance committee, consisting of women from three agencies — the Women and Child Department, anganwadi workers from self-help groups (SHGs) and panchayat samitis — will visit houses in each ward of a gram panchayat. These women would conduct an anti-domestic violence campaign on the lines of the UN’s ‘Ring the bell campaign’, Mr. Prasad said.

Keeping track

“Whilst adhering to the lockdown regulations, their duty would be to reach out to all homes and keep a track of domestic violence in their areas. We have also provided a helpline number 18002334130 at the district level and a psychologist has been hired for counselling,” Mr. Prasad said.

After a case of domestic violence is registered, members of the vigilance panel will try counselling the offending husband. If the violence or harassment does not abate even after counselling, then the husband would be dispatched to institutional quarantine. “We have tied up with rural police stations and a DSP rank officer will coordinate with the vigilance committee members,” he said.

 

The panel has also been tasked with enquiring about the needs of pregnant and lactating women.

“During their visits, the committee members are tasked with ensuring whether pregnant women and vulnerable communities are getting an uninterrupted supply of essential items like cooking oil and salt,” Mr. Prasad said.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 9:11:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-lockdown-pune-zilla-parishad-plans-tough-action-to-check-domestic-violence/article31371216.ece

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