COVID-19 has not only unleashed a new political challenge and economic meltdown on countries, the pandemic has exacerbated some social issues like domestic violence as well. Since the world has gone into lockdown, many reports and studies from around the globe show a rise in domestic violence cases. And Pakistan is no exception to this social problem.

Indeed, there are legal statutes and other sets of protective mechanisms in all four provinces of the country. Nevertheless, they fail in tackling the cases of domestic abuse in the lockdown days. And the situation becomes more complicated due to the circumspection on the part of victims in reporting such incidents. Most of such victims find it difficult to contact authorities because of the presence of the perpetrators in the house and the fear of further violence.

True, the government is dealing with multiple challenges that the global pandemic is posing. However, the authorities cannot ignore the issue at hand that is becoming grimmer. The gaps in the legal framework which aims to protect women and girls from domestic abuse allow the abusers to carry on with their violent behaviour and actions. The legislature must work on filling up all these gaps and consider the challenges that COVID-19 is posing in reporting of domestic abuse incidents. Presently, the victims are locked in with their abusers, with little to no hope of intervention from authorities or the outside world.

Additionally, poor social services or their nonexistence make it impossible for victims to escape from their abusers or get any justice. The state must work together with the Ministry of Human Rights and other rights advocacy groups to come up with a solution for curbing the spike in cases of domestic violence. If the authorities ignore the problem, the situation will only get worse for the victims of domestic violence in the coming days if the lockdown continues.