Experts feared violence against women and children was on the increase as lockdown conditions created a dangerous cocktail of risk factors for those cohabiting with violent people.
The department of social development’s domestic violence hotline received over 2,000 calls in a single week.
This “alarming” number was indicative of a spike in domestic violence, according to NGO Sonke Gender Justice.
The advocacy group’s senior strategic advisor, Bafana Khumalo, said the group was concerned that women and children living with violent adults were experiencing increased vulnerability to threats of violence and left with few options to avoid them.
“We predicted this. In the implementation of regulations for Covid-19 there was not enough done to prevent or deal with the expected increase in violence in the home, especially against women and children,” he said.
He said government should have made more shelters available for vulnerable women and children and more mechanisms to help those stuck in dangerous domestic situations.
Institute of Security Studies crime researcher Dr Johan Burger suspected that it was even more difficult than usual for victims to report rape and domestic violence cases because of the forced proximity to the perpetrators, as well as the threat of being arrested on the way to a police station to seek help.