According to recent reports, domestic violence might be on the rise due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
Rabat – Casablanca police arrested on May 27 a 47-year-old man for allegedly imprisoning and torturing his 15-year-old son, a statement from Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) said.
The suspect, residing in the Anfa district, central Casablanca, allegedly tied up his son with an iron chain, assaulted him with a blunt object, afflicted second-degree burns on several parts of his body, and shaved part of his head.
Security services made the arrest after receiving a notification from an undisclosed source.
Police officers rescued the victim and transferred him to the Ibn Rochd University Hospital to receive the necessary care. Officers also seized the objects used to tie up and torture the child.
The accused father will remain in custody, pending investigation. DGSN’s statement did not mention whether another family member was present at the crime scene.
According to Articles 400 to 404 of Morocco’s penal code, the suspect could face a prison sentence ranging between one and 10 years, depending on the severity of the victim’s injuries, as well as a fine ranging between MAD 400 ($40) and MAD 4,000 ($400).
With Morocco entering its 10th week of lockdown, tensions in Moroccan homes continue to rise due to the uncertainty and stress the COVID-19 pandemic is causing, possibly leading to an increase in domestic violence.
While there are not many local studies about domestic violence against children, violence against women became more worrying since the COVID-19 lockdown started.
Between March 20 and April 20, the first month of the lockdown, Moroccan prosecutors registered 892 complaints of physical, sexual, economic, and psychological abuse of women.
The number represents a drop compared to the monthly average of 1,500 complaints. However, according to Morocco’s public prosecution office, the drop is likely a result of the victims’ inability to file complaints rather than a decrease in violence.
The office called for a telephone hotline or digital platform so domestic violence victims can file complaints without leaving their homes.
The Federation of Women’s Rights Leagues (FLDF) had similar concerns and launched a hotline for women who suffer abuse. Between March 16 and April 24, the hotline received 240 phone calls from 230 women who reported incidents of domestic violence.
According to the NGO, psychological abuse was the reason for the highest number of calls, approximately 48.2% of the count, followed by economic abuse (33%), and physical violence (12%).
In December 2019, a report from Morocco’s High Commission for Planning (HCP) found that out of 13.4 million Moroccan women, aged between 15 and 74, more than 7.6 million, or 57%, had experienced at least one act of violence in the previous 12 months.
The survey revealed that the women most affected by violence are the unemployed and least-formally-educated.