Virus driving up domestic abuse

Virus driving up domestic abuse

Income cuts, booze intake fuels violence

Incidences of aggravated domestic violence have risen as a result of falling household incomes and increased alcohol consumption during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Thai Health Promotion Foundation (ThaiHealth) says.

According to a nationwide survey carried out by the foundation, cases of domestic violence surged by 66% since virus control measures were introduced in March, said ThaiHealth's Director of Wellbeing Promotion for Vulnerable Individuals, Poranee Phuprasert on Wednesday.

The South showed the highest increase in the number of domestic violence cases, where cases surged by 48%, while Bangkok saw the smallest increase at 26%.

The increases were mainly driven by frustration over dwindling household incomes as jobs disappeared due to the pandemic, and an increase in alcohol intake during lockdown, the report said. The director said Thailand has one of the highest rates of violence against women in the world, as per the United Nations' Office on Drugs and Crime's figures.

Kannikar Charoenluck, director of the Gender Equality Promotion Division at the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, said there were about 1,400 cases of domestic violence each year over the past four years -- an average of four cases per day. "The home, which should be a safe place for women and children, can be a terrifying place where they are subjected to beatings and verbal abuse," she said, adding the ministry has shelters at various locations where victims of domestic abuse can seek refuge.

Meanwhile, Angkana Inthasa, head of the gender promotion division at the Women and Men Progressive Movement Foundation (WMP), said the foundation has published a book on how communities can play a part in creating safe social spaces for victims of domestic abuse.

She said the book draws on the experiences of those who have worked with domestic violence victims and outlines ways through which local communities can engage with authorities to figure out a sustainable solution to the problem. The book also contains experiences of community leaders who themselves faced violence in their own homes.

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