The crimes against women and children in Pakistan have seen a 200 per cent rise in March, the month when the coronavirus outbreak hit the country, according to a study.
The study comes soon after a report by the country's human rights commission, warning that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will worsen the condition of the poorest sections.
In its January to March 2020 report, the Sustainable Social Development Organisation (SSDO) said cases of violence against women increased by more than 200 per cent in March compared to January, The News said in an article on Tuesday.
Similarly, the cases of child abuse, domestic violence, kidnapping and rape registered a marked increase, the Islamabad based non-governmental organisation said.
The SSDO collected the data from three English newspapers -- The Nation, The Dawn and The News -- and three Urdu newspapers -- Jang, Duniya and Express -- as part of the study 'Tracking Crimes Against Humans In Pakistan'.
The crimes were then segregated into eight categories -- child marriage, child abuse, child labour, domestic abuse, kidnapping, rape, violence against women and murder.
In February, 13 child abuse cases were reported, while 61 cases were recorded in March. No child abuse case was reported in January.
Domestic violence cases increased from six in February to 20 in March. Again no cases were reported in January.
In March, 25 rape cases were registered, while 24 in February and nine in January.
Cases of kidnapping saw a dramatic rise from 48 and 41 in January and February to 75 in March.
Other incidents of violence against women also rose from 10 and zero in January and February to 36 in March.
The study said there may be some deviation in the data as many crimes may have been committed but not reported or mis-reported.
The report will help evaluate the performance of the police and other enforcement agencies, SSDO director Syed Kausar Abbas told 'The News' daily.
The SSDO study is released at a time when debate over the condition of weaker sections rages on in Pakistan.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) in its April-end report noted "reports of child labourers being sexually abused in mines surfaced in Balochistan, while news of young children being raped, murdered and dumped has become frighteningly common."
Listing other human rights failings, the report pointed at unabated honour killings, forced conversions of minority under-age girls and continued use of a blasphemy law that carries the death penalty to intimidate and settle scores.
The HRCP had warned that widespread social and economic marginalisation would leave the weakest segments invisible and unheard during the coronavirus pandemic.