COVID-19 and the Uptick of Abuse: How You Can Help

In a typical year, 243 million women and girls worldwide experience intimate partner violence.  The pandemic has had a great impact on intimate partner violence. Since 2020, domestic violence has spiked.  Amid the pandemic, calls to helplines increased as much as 5x.  Members of marginalized groups are hit the hardest.  Rates of abuse increased by 50% or more for marginalized communities.  These same groups were disproportionately affected by the pandemic in other ways, including a higher likelihood of infection and higher unemployment. 

What caused this uptick in abuse?  Three main factors have been considered: increased stressors, increased opportunity, and fewer safeguards present the perfect opportunity to start and sustain domestic violence.  The pandemic restricted movement and deserted public spaces, leaving the opportunity for abusers to further isolate their partners.  Additionally, mandated reporters such as teachers, clinicians, and child care providers have had fewer in-person visits, lessening opportunities for outside help. 

Nearly half of domestic violence incidents go unreported.  Social pressure, dependence on a partner, and the psychological impacts of abuse can make it harder to report instances.  How can you help someone stop domestic violence?  Jealousy of time spent away from partners, threatening violence, and controlling financial decisions are just some of the early signs of abuse.  If someone confides in you, listen without judgment, ask how you can help, and check in regularly.  Knowing your local resources can be of great assistance in instances of domestic violence. 

Domestic Violence: How You Can Help

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