New Delhi: The National Commission for Women (NCW) launched a WhatsApp number on Friday to report cases of domestic violence, which have seen a rise during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
The NCW said the WhatsApp number --7217735372 -- is in addition to the online complaint links and emails which are already operational.
"This is an emergency number for women facing domestic violence complaints only," an NCW member said.
In a tweet, the NCW urged people to report such cases through WhatsApp on the number so that the agency can provide support and assistance to the women in distress or experiencing domestic violence.
The number has only been launched for the period of lockdown till normal offices resume, the NCW said.
The announcement comes amid a rise in domestic violence cases due to the ongoing lockdown. It was found that many women who are victims of domestic violence are more vulnerable during the lockdown period.
Earlier on Friday, the NCW organised online conference with all state commissions for women, to discuss strengthening of all support network available to women as per commission mandates and how commissions are dealing with complaints of domestic violence in their respective states during the lockdown.
"Discussions to explore the possibility of providing counselling through online and phones services. Counselling in cases of complaints received also important & all state commissions for women will nominate counsellors for activation of counselling soon. #WomenHelplineUnit #181 #112," the NCW said in another tweet.
"Fully utilise 181 women helpline and shelter homes, integrate with OSCs for addressing grievance and distress," the NCW said.
The NCW said it will identify institutes for training local volunteers at district levels who can then reach out and provide support to women and children in distress.
National Commission of Women Chairperson Rekha Sharma had recently said that domestic violence complaints were increasing by the day since the nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 25, with 69 complaints received just through email.
From March 24 till April 1, 257 complaints related to various offences against women were received.
Of the 257, 69 complaints are related to domestic violence, the latest data released by the NCW showed.
India is currently under the biggest lockdown with around 1.3 billion people asked to stay home in view of the coronavirus outbreak, which has claimed nearly 200 lives and infected more than 6,400 people.