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HR Ministry establishes helpline to protect women and children

March 31, 2020

Islamabad:Lockdowns and quarantine measures often leave women and children vulnerable to domestic abuse and violence - which is known to rise during emergencies.

Keeping in mind this fact, the Ministry of Human Rights (MoHR) has established a mechanism to receive related complaints from women and children on its regular helpline 1099 and also through call/text on exclusive WhatsApp number 0333-9085709.

The Ministry of Human Rights operates helpline 1099 to receive complaints regarding human rights violations in the country. The same helpline could be contacted in case children or women feel unsafe, face violence or witness violence during lockdown or quarantine. Besides that, the mobile number would enable them to call or text through WhatsApp

The rise in the reported incidents of domestic violence against vulnerable groups has already been reported in cities around the world as women and children living under abusive environment have no escape from their abusers.

According to The Guardian, the Catalan regional government has reported 20 per cent rise in calls to its helpline in the first few days of the confinement period. In Cyprus, calls to a similar hotline rose 30 per cent in the week after March 9, when the island had its first confirmed case of coronavirus.

No such data has been collected in Pakistan but the UN Women has explained that measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 have had a social impact that has affected women severely at the global level.

The UN Agency warns that in this emergency context the risk of violence against women and girls, especially domestic violence, increases due to the tension and isolation of women at home. Survivors of violence may face additional obstacle to flee violent situations and approach essential services.