HYDERABAD: The Covid pandemic that broke out over a year ago, has indirectly led to a drastic increase in crimes against women and children in the State, especially cases of domestic violence and child marriages. Experts claim that the pandemic-induced lockdown has reversed decades of progress made in reducing child marriage and domestic violence.
Telangana witnessed a 27 per cent increase in child marriages in just the last year. According to the data provided by the Women Development and Child Welfare Department, from February, 2019 to March, 2020, 977 cases of child marriages were averted. But soon after the lockdown was imposed in the State, resulting in schools being shut, no mid-day meals, and jobs being lost, several parents from a weaker economic background opted to marry off their girl child. They forced their male children into child labour. In Telangana, 1,355 cases of child marriage were averted from April, 2020 to March, 2021, a 27 per cent increase.
Shockingly, as per the WCD data, in Hyderabad, post the lockdown, around 22 child marriages were averted, however, Hyderabad Childline officials claim that the actual number is much higher. Officials say that urban areas, such as Hyderabad, which usually witness fewer child marriage cases, reported an increase this year post the lockdown. The city witnessed 56 child marriage cases since the pandemic, claimed Childline officials, a 19 per cent increase from March, 2019-March, 2020.
The Covid-induced lockdown also led to increasing domestic abuse against women. Mala (name changed) a home-maker residing in Hyderabad complained that just weeks into the lockdown, her husband, who earlier used to be abusive verbally and emotionally, started physically assaulting her regularly.She’s not the only one suffering such assaults. Since the pandemic, (April, 2020- March,2021) around 1,250 more DV and dowry cases were reported in the State, a 17 per cent increase from the previous year. From April, 2019 to March 2020, around 6,000 cases of domestic violence and dowry cases were reported.
Kids hit most when schools were closed
Soon after the lockdown was imposed in the State, resulting in schools being shut, no mid-day meals, and jobs being lost, several parents from a weaker economic background opted to marry off their girl child. They forced their male children into child labour