Domestic violence and COVID-19: the twin pandemic

Shibal Bhartiya, Nishant Kumar


Background: The aim of the study was to evaluate why women inhabitants of the urban slums in Mumbai, Maharashtra are apprehensive and non-supportive of a second lock down.

Methods: Our questionnaire-based study (October 2020 to February 2021) demonstrated that fewer women supported a re-lockdown. Individual, unstructured, non-directive interviews were carried out to ascertain why women of the urban slum were opposed to lockdown. Median and range were calculated for continuous variables, while categorical variables were represented as frequency and percentages. P value <0.05 was statistically significant.

Results: 189 women (53 who were opposed to the lockdown, and 136 who responded with “I don’t know” to the question “If COVID-19 cases rise authorities should lockdown the city”, who had previously agreed to be part of the questionnaire-based survey, were approached for an interview. A total of 68 women agreed to talk to our researchers. Of these, 47 were opposed to the lockdown, and 21 had responded with a “I don’t know”. Forty three out of 47 (91.5%), and 13 out of 21 women (61.9) revealed that the main reason for their opposition to the lockdown was domestic and intimate partner violence. The others cited the loss of wages as their primary reason (4 women, 8.5% and 8 women, 38.1%, respectively).

Conclusions: While lockdowns have been shown to help control the pandemic, authorities in charge of health policy must remember the consequences of domestic violence on the physical and emotional health of women, and their children, when planning the next lockdown.


Re-lockdown, COVID-19 second wave, Domestic violence

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