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Data | Domestic violence complaints at a 10-year high during COVID-19 lockdown

During the first four phases of the COVID-19-related lockdown, Indian women filed more domestic violence complaints than recorded in a similar period in the last 10 years. But even this unusual spurt is only the tip of the iceberg as 86% women who experience domestic violence do not seek help in India.

Alarming rise

In 2020, between March 25 and May 31, 1,477 complaints of domestic violence were made by women. This 68-day period recorded more complaints than those received between March and May in the previous 10 years.

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image/svg+xml50075010001250150020102020Domestic violence complaints2015


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State-wise numbers

The chart plots the number of domestic violence complaints recorded in a State against the number of complaints received per one million women till now in 2020.

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image/svg+xmlComplaints per 1 mn womenTotal complaints in 20200.51251020500200100502010512H.P.HaryanaT.N.MaharashtraKeralaA.P.U.P. recorded600 complaints,the highestamong all StatesAbout 32 complaints werereceived per 1 millionwomen in Delhi, the highestcomplaint rate


Also read: Data | How effective was India’s COVID-19 lockdown compared to other countries?

Buried in silence

About 86% women who experienced violence never sought help, and 77% of the victims did not even mention the incident(s) to anyone. The table shows that women who were subjected to both physical and sexual violence seek help relatively more than those who suffer from only one form of abuse.

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image/svg+xmlType of violenceNever toldanyoneToldsomeoneSought helpfrom a sourcePhysical79.59.011.6Sexual80.69.59.8Physical & sexual61.39.928.8Total76.69.114.3



Among the 14.3% of victims who sought help, only 7% reached out to relevant authorities — the police, doctors, lawyers or social service organisations. But more than 90% of the victims sought help only from their immediate family.

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image/svg+xmlWho the victims contacted (%)45710152030405070OthersAuthoritiesNeighbourFriendsFamily of the husbandOwn family

Sources: Graphs 1 and 2 were sourced from the National Commission for Women. Table 3 and graph 4 were sourced from the National Family Health Survey 2015-16

Also read: Data | Market arrivals dip, procurement delays: How COVID-19 impacted agriculture

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