Rates of domestic violence in this country are already too high. But, when family members are forced into close quarters for months on end due to a global health and economic crisis, tensions are likely to escalate. Here is how domestic violence has worsened during COVID-19 and what you can do if you or a loved one have become a victim.
Domestic Violence Statistics Before and During COVID-19
Domestic violence is already a global issue, but those problems have escalated in the past year thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four women and one in ten men suffer intimate partner violence (IPV), which can be physical, emotional, psychological, and sexual in nature.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, the number of calls for help in some areas dropped by as much as 50%, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. It wasn’t so much that IPV rates decreased, but rather victims were no longer able to safely connect with services.
In other parts of the world, rates of reporting soared. For example, calls and texts to the anti-violence number in Italy jumped over 119% between March and June. And domestic violence reports in France rose 42% during the country’s first lockdown in the spring.
More Time Together
The most obvious factor exacerbating violence within households and between partners is the increased time together. Relatives and partners that aren’t accustomed to such close quarters are more likely to act out physically and emotionally.
In the past, many people can get some physical and emotional space by spending time with friends, going to work, or participating in a hobby. Most or even all of these activities might be taken off the table in the midst of a pandemic.
Another contributor to domestic violence is financial stress and strain. The pandemic has led to layoffs, furloughs, and general unemployment thanks to the many restrictions put in place by local government and the public’s state of fear.
Unfortunately, many family members and partners are also financially entangled, making it difficult to leave. The added stress of balancing work, bills, health concerns, and at-home schooling or child care has also led to an increase in child abuse.
Red Flags are Hidden
There are usually red flags that someone is experiencing domestic violence. But, with everyone isolating during the pandemic, who is going to notice them? Many abusers are also incredibly controlling and know how to keep these behaviors hidden.
Isolation can be difficult and even dangerous when domestic violence is an issue. It can take a lot of support and resources to help a person break free from an unhealthy situation.
Experienced Legal Counsel for Domestic Violence
If you or someone you care about is struggling with domestic violence during COVID-19, there is help available. While the legal process has become more complicated with an active pandemic, no one has to suffer in silence. Contact the authorities immediately if domestic violence is happening from a household member or you are concerned for your safety.
Once you are in a safe place, the experienced family law attorneys at AB Law can protect your rights and help you request a Domestic Violence Protective Order. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.