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Women’s groups see ‘slight increase’ in reported domestic violence cases during curfew

Activists push for 24-hour gov’t hotline to refer callers to assisting entities

By Rana Husseini - Mar 31,2020 - Last updated at Mar 31,2020

Women’s groups are calling on the government to establish an emergency 24-hour hotline to help victims of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 crisis, citing a 'slight increase' in reported domestic abuse cases since the start of the nationwide curfew (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — Women’s groups on Monday said that there has been a “slight increase” in the number of reported domestic violence cases since the curfew has come into force, calling on the government to establish an emergency 24-hour hotline to help victims of gender-based violence during the COVID-19 crisis.

On March 21, the government imposed a nationwide lockdown in a bid to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Solidarity Is Global Institute (SIGI) Executive Director Asma Khader told The Jordan Times that her organisation’s hotline is “receiving more calls now than before the lockdown”.

“There are more women calling us. Some of them report domestic violence cases and have no place to go, while others call us for consultation on how to get financial support since their husbands are stuck at home and they fear future tension within the family,” Khader said.

She added that in the past, abused women had more options to escape the violence, such as leaving the house to seek help or shelter at an organisation or with a friend.

“Now with the imposed curfew, the gender-based violence victims have little to no safe options and on some occasions, it could be a life or death situation,” Khader, also a lawyer, added.

That is why, she maintained, it is of “extreme importance during these difficult and restrictive times” for the government to establish a national 24-hour hotline that is answered by experts and specialists.

Jordanian National Commission for Women (JNCW) Secretary General Salma Nims agreed with Khader, saying it is highly important for a national hotline to be established to refer the callers to the correct governmental or local entity quickly.

“This line would work as a complete referral system to the concerned local organisations and official entities because the JNCW hotline is receiving more cases than the usual days,” Nims told The Jordan Times.

Meanwhile, Jordanian Women’s Union (JWU) Director General Nadia Shamroukh said the union is receiving cases on a daily basis, but “we do not have access to old figures to determine if there is an increase in reported cases”.

“We are receiving cases of domestic violence on a daily basis, and the problem is that we are unable to reach them personally, but we are providing them with the necessary help,” Shamroukh said.

She told The Jordan Times that the JWU’s shelter is open to anyone who could reach the establishment or for individuals referred to the union by government entities, such as the Family Protection Department.


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