How COVID-19 Is Increasing Domestic Violence
By definition, domestic violence is:
Violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.
This includes sexual violence, physical violence and stalking.
In the United States, the domestic violence numbers are staggering. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million women and men are victims of domestic violence over the course of 12 months.
Here are a few more figures regarding domestic violence in the U.S.:
These numbers are frightening and unacceptable. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence has only increased across the states.
According to an April 4 report from CNN:
Several cities are already reporting jumps in domestic violence cases or calls to local hotlines. Some shelters around the country say they’re full — some after reducing their capacity to maintain social distancing — and struggling to help survivors.
And since national and state governments have asked citizens to stay at home as a method to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak, victims of domestic violence are now stuck at home with their abusers, according to CNN.
The pandemic has shattered exit plans that some victims have spent months developing…And the deluge of stress and fear — of unemployment, of sickness, of death — is only intensifying the abuse they face…The services designed to support even the most isolated of these victims are struggling to help from a distance.
Plainly put, those that experience abuse no longer have the ability to escape their homes, and with the pandemic adding stress to home environments, those with abusive habits have seen those habits become heightened and boil to the surface.
Victims are unable to visit their friends, counselors, psychologists, even their families, essentially trapping them in their homes with their abusers.
Said Val Kalei Kanuha, assistant dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work:
“This particular situation with Covid-19 is so unusual because it really challenges all of us to think out of the ‘just leave’ box. You can’t tell somebody to leave because there’s no place to go.”
Even though these circumstances might seem grim, there is help available.
Below is a list of hotlines that can be reached for those needing support during a bout with domestic violence: