India: Kerala government launches WhatsApp number to report domestic violence during lockdown

The Kerala government on Saturday launched a WhatsApp number to report cases of domestic violence in the state, which have been on the rise during the coronavirus lockdown. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said complaints can be made to the number– 9400080292–, which will be available 24 hours.

“In the wake of reports of an increase in domestic violence during the lockdown, the Social Justice Department has been urged to take immediate steps to prevent them. Subsequently, a WhatsApp number was launched to make it easy for women and children to complain,” Vijayan said in a Facebook post.

The 24-hour helpline has been started by the Directorate of Women and Child Development with the help of the technical cell of the National Service Scheme.

“Similarly, complaints can be made on the child-line number 1098 and women helpline Mitra’s number, 181, and stern action will be taken in the matter,” Vijayan said.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has received 123 complaints of domestic violence in the last 18 days, with the panel saying it has observed a spike in such cases during the lockdown imposed to control the spread of coronavirus.

According to the data shared on Friday by the NCW, from March 23 till April 10, a total of 370 complaints related to women issues were received by the panel.

Of the 370 complaints, the highest 123 were of domestic violence, the data said.

The NCW had also launched a WhatsApp number — 7217735372– to report cases of domestic violence.

The NCW said the whatsapp number is in addition to the online complaint links and emails which are also operational.

India is currently under the biggest lockdown with around 1.3 billion people asked to stay home in view of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed nearly 200 lives and infected more than 6,400 people.