Government urged to curb domestic violence during lockdown

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THE government must do more to stop domestic violence during the current lockdown, legal watchdog, Veritas has said.

This comes as countries throughout the world are recording spikes in the incidences of domestic violence during the lockdown as the world is grappling to contain the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19).

Veritas said there is need for government to do more to deal with the issue of domestic violence.

“More facilities should be made available, and more information on the problem and on where help is available should be distributed nation-wide through government channels.

“NGOs play their part but basically, the government is responsible for the welfare of its people and we call upon government ministries to see that more is done to protect those who are exposed to domestic violence during this period of lockdown.”

Veritas said during the 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 government should be aware of the problem of increased domestic violence during the lockdown.

“The Domestic Violence Act Chapter 5:16 provides for protection from domestic violence and relief for victims. Domestic violence is defined as meaning any unlawful act, omission or behaviour which results in death or the direct infliction of physical, sexual or mental injury.

“Acts of domestic violence include physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional, verbal and psychological abuse, economic abuse, intimidation, harassment, stalking, malicious damage to property, and forcible entry into the victim’s residence where the parties do not share the same residence.

“It also includes depriving someone or hindering them from accessing or having a reasonable share of the use of the facilities associated with the victim’s place of residence.

“It is common for one partner to drive the other partner away from the house and lock them out or impose restrictions to their access to household facilities.

“If a woman is thrown out during the lockdown period, she is even more stranded, so practical measures to stop this are needed now more than ever before,” Veritas added.

According to Veritas, in France domestic violence has risen by 36 percent and two cases of femicide were reported since the beginning of the lockdown and the French government will be paying for safety shelters in places such as hotels.

In the United Kingdom, the National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25 percent increase in calls and online requests for help since the lockdown while in Australia there has been a 75 percent rise in Google searches relating to help for domestic violence since the start of the lockdown.

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