VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis prayed Monday for the growing number of women subjected to domestic abuse while living under coronavirus lockdown.
The Argentine pontiff live-streamed an Easter Monday prayer from his private library as the Vatican and Italy entered a second month of restrictions on most outdoor activities.
Worries about domestic abuse have spread across the world as nations force billions to stay at home to stop the spread of a disease that has officially killed nearly 115,000 people.
The pope offered a prayer to the "many mothers and sisters who find themselves locked in the house with the whole family, with children, with the elderly and the disabled.
"Sometimes they are at risk of being subjected to violence, for a coexistence in which they carry too great a burden," Francis said.
"We pray for them, that God may give them strength and that our communities can support them together with their families".
Countries from Australia to France have seen surges in the number of domestic violence cases reported to the police. But worries persist that many abuses go unreported and that the true scale of the violence is unknown.
Italy's interior ministry is using a phone app to help geo-locate reports of domestic of violence.
The government has also allocated USD 32.8 million to help shelter women victims of domestic abuse.