Domestic violence and child abuse have reportedly increased at a remarkable level during quarantines around the world as well as in Lebanon.
This increase has been noticeable with news of domestic violence circulating now more than ever.
According to KAFA, a Lebanese organization that deals with domestic violence cases, many of the calls it has received since the beginning of the lockdown have been from women seeking help for the first time.
Among the dramatic incidents reported by local news recently, a 5-year-old Syrian girl identified as Maha D. was beaten to death by her father in the northern city of Tripoli a few weeks ago. In Beirut, two sisters, aged 17 and 20 respectively, were thrown from their home’s balcony by their own father.
This increase in domestic violence against women and young girls has been reported in other countries as well; as a global phenomenon.
March 2020 marked that calls made to the Lebanese Internal Security Forces hotline complaining about domestic violence increased by the double in comparison to March 2019. Same for February 2020 where calls increased by 86%.
During The International Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and on Thursday the 16th of April, Lebanon has taken many steps against this phenomenon and in order to control it and stop all kinds of domestic abuse.
Lebanese Judge Ghassan Ouwaidat, the Attorney General of the Court of Cassation, issued a generalization on the issue to the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities, the Public Prosecution Appeals, the Government Commissioner in the Military Court, the Army Command, the General Directorate of Internal Security Forces, the General Directorate of General Security, and the General Directorate of State Security.
The generalization came as follows:
“…In light of the increase in the phenomenon of domestic violence due to quarantines, and in order to ensure the rights of women victims and their children to have access to the judiciary when treated with injustice, and the proper functioning of public prosecutors specialized in cases of domestic violence, especially in terms of enabling them to take all measures to protect women and children, we request opening immediate records in all cases of domestic violence, even in cases of non-witnessed crimes.”
Taking into consideration the current quarantine, Judge Ouwaidat issued: “We also request that the victim will not be required to attend and give a testimony due to the current conditions. Instead, the lawyer or the judicial officer in charge of the investigation will listen to the victim’s testimony via video chat or any means deemed appropriate.”
In another attempt to protect women and give them a voice as well as a chance to fight back, a Lebanese organization called Abaad that aims to achieve gender equality as an essential condition to sustainable development in the MENA, organized a national campaign.
This campaign encouraged people to share Abaad’s hotline on balconies all over Lebanon, in order to “stop violence against women inside their homes.”
The campaign was a big success, as hundreds of men, women, and children participated by holding posters and hanging white sheets with the hotline written on them at 6 pm on Thursday.
If you or anyone you know is subject to domestic violence, contact Abaad’s Helpline: 81788178