With millions of people in China spending time indoors, rights activists say there have been increasing instances of domestic violence.
According to BBC, a female activist by the name of Guo Jing, who had only moved to Wuhan – the epicenter of the virus – in November 2019, says she has personally received enquiries from young people living in the quarantined city about witnessing domestic violence between their parents. They had no idea where to turn to for help, she added.
Another activist from China, Xia Li wrote on Chinese social media of her concern after a distant relative was assaulted by her ex-husband and made a plea for help.
“Eventually after much persuasion, the police finally allowed an exit and entry permit to be granted so my brother could drive and meet her and the children,” Ms Li told bbc.
The director of Beijing-based women’s rights nonprofit organization also reported that she had received three times as many inquiries from victims than they did before quarantines were in place.
“The police should not use the excuse of the epidemic for not taking domestic violence seriously,” she says.
UN Women are also concerned about the possible diversion of resources with increased efforts to contain outbreaks.
Maria Holtsberg, humanitarian and disaster risk advisor at UN Women Asia and Pacific also said that, “Diverting resources from critical services that women rely on, such as routine health checks or gender based violence services, is something we are very concerned about.”