Study Finds Rise in Domestic Violence During COVID

The findings align with concerns about domestic violence linked to the pandemic expressed in April by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

“We know that lockdowns and quarantines are essential in removing COVID-19, but they can trap women with violent partners,” Guterres said at the time. “In recent weeks, as economic and social pressures and fear have increased, we have witnessed an appalling rise in domestic violence.

“For many women and girls,” he added, “the threat is greatest where they should be most secure, in their own homes.”

Barbara Paradiso, director of the Center on Domestic Violence at the University of Colorado at Denver, echoed this thought.

“When a victim has to stay in a house without access to the usual outlets that help reduce stress [such as] interval time at work, opportunities to visit friends or family, a private place to ask for help – the opportunity for violence naturally increases, ”noted Paradiso, who was not part of the team. study.

Stress from the pandemic itself is likely contributing to it as well, she added.

“The person who chooses to use violence – the abuser – uses violence as a tool to establish and maintain power and control over their partner,” Paradiso explained. “This need for power is, in part, a reflection of the lack of power they feel over their environment. COVID has brought with it just about any uncertainty we can imagine: are we going to lose our jobs? Get fired? When will he be allowed to go back to work or school? Can I pay my rent? And so on. “

Uncertainty is likely to hit attackers hard, Paradiso said.

“This lack of control that each of us feels is likely to be magnified for the abuser, and so they magnify their violence,” she said.

Many shelters and safe homes have had to move people to hotels to comply with COVID-19 guidelines, so space for victims of domestic violence may be limited. But help is available, Balcom said.

“Hotlines and domestic violence programs are working,” she said. Those in need of assistance should contact their local program for assistance or contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. Its website – thehotline.org – also has information on local resources.

“Even though leaving home and going to a shelter is not what a survivor wants to do, the staff in the home safety programs are great to talk to,” said Paradiso. “They can give you support, help you make a plan to better protect yourself and your children, and connect you with many valuable resources in the community.

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Jothi Venkat

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