In what has rung alarm bells for the Punjab police, there has been an over 21 per cent increase in the number of crimes against women (CAW) in the state, with 700 cases of domestic violence being reported since the curfew and lockdown kicked in.
With a substantial increase in crimes like domestic violence, the state police have formulated a special strategy to resolve cases within 24 hours. According to data released by the police, the number of cases has risen from 4,709 to 5,695 since March, with domestic violence cases going up from 3,287 to 3,993 during the lockdown.
According to DGP Dinkar Gupta, the average number of daily calls received on the 112 helpline number has increased by almost 34 per cent for domestic violence cases, between March 20 and April 20.
“Domestic violence is way of life for many women in Punjab. The crime is not restricted to illiterates or rural patriarchal societies, but even in cities. With entire family being stuck down in houses many women are being used as tools to vent anger and thrashed. Unfortunately, not many move to police", said a senior member of the Punjab State Women Commission.
“While there is substantial decrease in crimes like eve-teasing and even dowry harassments, with people confined in homes, there has been a massive increase in crime against woman. We are taking it on top priority and have set a series of SOPs to deal with the situation", said DGP Gupta.
The police plan to keep a daily tab on crimes against woman and will coordinate with one-stop centres, which are manned by counsellors nominated by the department of social security, women and child development.
The services of these counsellors will be utilized, wherever needed, to counsel the victims, perpetrators, and provide necessary protection in case of children.
As per the response mechanism, the CAW call is received at 112 and forwarded to a district control room (DCC), with details of the call also given to DSP, CAW and the district women help desks. Women cops then pay a visit to the callers to help, especially for complaints of domestic violence, and will then help the complainant and coordinate with the police station and district level help desk on their behalf.
“The teams have been asked to be on alert and deal every single call or complaint by woman with utmost urgency. Locked in homes we do not want any woman to be subjected to physical or mental abuse. We appeal to women to call us in case of any distress", added Gupta.