COVID-19 Domestic Violence Country Updates: Pakistan
Wednesday, June 24, 2020 3:25 PM


In Pakistan, since the beginning of the pandemic, mental health professionals have reported an increase in domestic violence cases and an increase in gender-based violence. At the same time, many of the services that could protect vulnerable women have stopped and most of the shelters do not have COVID-19 protocols put into place to safely accept newcomers. Notably, while several Pakistani police records show an upward trend of violence against women during the pandemic, studies have shown that calls to government hotlines are decreasing. Senior lawyer Shuja Abbas believes that victims of domestic violence in Pakistan are fearful of using government helplines as they are nervous about the effects their report might have on their families. Advocates believe that the Pakistani government should create, on a local level, committees to address and prevent domestic violence via online chat resources. In the Punjab province, the government has formed a partnership with UNFPA Pakistan to launch the mobile app Women Safety – the app connects women with safe spaces.