NGO Sustainable Social Development Organization says data was compiled from newspapers, raising fears unreported numbers far higher
Between January and March 2020, violence against women increased by 200 percent, while murder cases jumped by 142.1 percent, says a reported issued by the non-governmental Sustainable Social Development Organization.
For its quarterly report, the NGO monitored three English-language and three Urdu-language newspapers, focusing on reports of early child marriage, child abuse, child labor, domestic abuse, kidnapping, violence against women, rape, and murder.
Noting that there was a high likelihood of many crimes having been committed but not reported, it said that March witnessed a huge surge in crimes of 360 percent. “More than 90% of the deviant felonies were against children and women,” it said.
According to the report, domestic violence saw a 230 percent increase between January and March. In January, it said, 0 cases were reported in dailies, which increased to 6 in February and 20 in March.
Similarly, it said, there was 1 reported case of workplace harassment in January, which jumped to 5 in February, before coming back down to 2 in March. It should be noted that the government imposed lockdowns in March to curb the spread of coronavirus, shuttering many offices and thereby reducing instances of workplace harassment.
Referring to violence targeting women, the report said that local dailies had reported 10 cases in January, 0 in February, and then 36 in March, a jump of 200 percent. It said that the highest number of cases was reported from Punjab, 34, while the lowest was from Balochistan, 0.
The tally of rape cases stayed relatively constant in the three months between the start of January and end of March, said the report. In January, 9 cases of rape were registered, which increased to 24 in February and then 25 in March. The low incident in January, warned the report, could mean that lower cases were actually reported for legal action.
Kidnapping cases, noted the report, were also likely underreported. However, based on the newspaper coverage, 48 such cases were reported in January, 41 in February, and a whopping 75 in March.
Cases of murder, meanwhile, also surged in March as compared to the previous two months. In January, there were 34 cases reported, this fell to 19 in February, before spiking once more in March to hit 46.
While there were 0 cases of child abuse reported in dailies in January, this number increased to 13 in February and 61 in March. While the report did not mention what could have caused this increase, it is likely that as more activists work to erase the social stigma attached to reporting child abuse, more victims are coming forward and seeking justice.
Meanwhile, said the SSDO, the reporting on child labor is “significantly low.” It said that in January, only 2 cases were reported, which increased to 4 in February. There were no cases of child labor reported in March.
According to SSDO report, crimes against women included “rape, torture, acid throwing, abduction, intimidation, family feuds, vitriolic estranged partner, and honor killing.” It noted that these crimes appeared to occur with impunity. “A substantial chunk of the crimes against women [were] also found to be sex related,” it said, adding the problem was nationwide.