Since the COVID-19 pandemic induced lockdown came into force in 2020, Kerala had witnessed an increase in domestic violence cases being reported. While there was a decline in the number of domestic violence cases when the lockdown was relaxed in 2020, cases are on the rise again in the wake of the recent curbs. In an effort to tackle the issue, the Kerala Police has launched Domestic Conflict Resolution Centres (DCRCs) across the state.
According to the Kerala police, the month of March 2020 had 14 cases of domestic violence reported. With the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown imposed later the same month, Kerala saw many more cases being reported. In April 2020, 75 domestic violences cases were reported, increasing to 300 in May last year. It later shot up to over 600 domestic violence cases in June 2020. â€śThough the number of domestic violence cases came down in the following months, this year cases are shooting up again. In January, 457 domestic violence cases were reported, while in April there were 602 cases,â€ť said an official part of the project. In total, from March 24, 2020 to April 18, 2021, 5,507 cases were registered. As per National Crime Records Bureau, in 2019 Kerala saw 194 cases reported under Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act.
Domestic Conflict Resolution Centres(DCRC) were started on May 5 by state police chief Loknath Behera. The Domestic Conflict Resolution Centres is associated with policeâ€™s 19 women cells across the state. The complaints pertaining to domestic violence, received through various channels to the police, will be taken up by the DCRCs, providing necessary intervention.
Speaking to TNM, P Vijayan, Inspector General of Coastal Security, who coordinates the project says, â€śDCRCs are basically centres for conciliation and mediation. After checking the complaints, if crime cases have to be booked it will be handed to police stations. Those cases which can be resolved without legal action, will be done so with the help of trained counsellors."
He adds that the cases range from alcohol abuse, financial issues within homes, issues between in-laws and married women, conflicts related with relationships etc. IG Vijayan also says that instances of domestic violence have increased as people are forced to remain at home for a longer duration due to the lockdown. â€śEven for children there are problems like internet addiction. There are instances when legal cases will put the whole family in trouble. The DCRCs allow the families to resolve the issues in such instances,â€ť he said.