Development Studies, Social Policy & Administration, Trending Research

Understanding Domestic Violence in India During COVID-19: a Routine Activity Approach

Changes in routine activities of people were linked to rise in domestic violence incidents during the lockdown period imposed to contain Covid-19 in India.


Akshaya Krishnakumar, Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India

Shankey Verma, Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India


Domestic violence, a prevalent problem in India, saw an increase during the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. This article explores the factors associated with an increase in domestic violence incidents during COVID-19 by applying routine activity theory (RAT) framework. Data were drawn from the incidents of domestic violence reported in newspapers. 

For the study, the researchers first searched news articles on the Google search engine using a combination of certain keywords. These keywords were “domestic violence,” “intimate partner violence,” “spousal violence,” “marital violence,” “lockdown,” “COVID-19,” “coronavirus,” and “India.” 

The researchers used online newspaper sources namely The Economic Times, The Times of India,, The Hindu, The Diplomat, Deccan Herald, The Wire, News18, BBC News, Times Now, and Al Jazeera. 

Using Google search date and site syntax, the researchers from Jindal Institute of Behavioural Sciences at O.P. Jindal Global University collected news articles published between 22nd March 2020 and 31st May 2020. As the researchers used news articles published in the English language only, translation and back translation was not required.

Data was analyzed using content analysis and three major themes, i.e., three principle components of RAT — motivated offender, suitable target, and absence of capable guardian — were drawn. Findings reveal that sources of motivation in domestic violence perpetrators during the lockdown were alcohol and unemployment. 

The symbolic value that perpetrators associated with women, lower inertia, visibility, and accessibility to the perpetrators made women suitable targets of domestic violence. 

Lastly, shortage of police force and travel restrictions on formal and informal sources resulted in the absence of capable guardians. We conclude that changes in the routine activities of people during the COVID-19 lockdown provided more opportunities to the perpetrators of domestic violence.

Published in: Asian Journal of Criminology

To read the full article, please click here