Writing "the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the US" would be something of an understatement. Since the beginning of the pandemic, tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs. Millions of small businesses are at risk of closing and, even as we move towards establishing an official vaccination protocol for the virus, case numbers continue to rise heading into the holidays.
The pandemic drastically changed the way people across the US live. One of the more underpublicized side-effects of the virus has been an increase in domestic violence, both in the US and across the globe at large. Today, we're exploring how COVID-19 has exacerbated domestic violence rates across the country.
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Is COVID-19 Increasing the Rate of Domestic Violence?
Data from the US and around the globe indicates that, unfortunately, COVID-19 does appear to correlate with an increased rate of domestic violence.
In the US, a study by the University of Texas at Dallas found that the rate of intimate partner violence incidents increased by 12.5% when the city established its stay-at-home order earlier this year. That data was mirrored in other cities, such as Chicago, where calls related to domestic violence increased by roughly 12% from the beginning of the year through mid-April.
Cities around the world also saw increases in domestic violence. In Jingzhou, China, the rate of domestic violence reports shot up by 300% in February 2020 (when the city was under quarantine) when compared to February 2019. United Nations Women released an official statement warning of increased domestic violence rates across the globe.
As cities across the US and world go back under quarantine and cases continue to spike in the face of a new vaccine, there could be another resurgence of domestic violence similar to the beginning of 2020.
Why Would COVID-19 Increase Domestic Violence?
The COVID-19 pandemic could increase domestic violence rates for a few key reasons:
- Abusers are at home more. With quarantines and massive layoffs, the probability of abusers being in close proximity to victims/survivors for long periods of time increases. This could speed up the cycle of domestic violence, resulting in more dangerous incidents over shorter timeframes.
- Financial abuse is more likely. If a survivor/victim loses their job to the pandemic, they may lack the resources they need to escape from their abuser successfully.
- Survivors/victims may have a harder time coming forward. The afore-mentioned factors and quarantines may make it more difficult for survivors/victims to seek help. They may be frightened of attending a hospital or placing themself in a shelter due to the increased risk of contracting COVID-19. It may also be harder to find the opportunity to put in a call to law enforcement and request help if the abuser is at home more.
What Can Domestic Violence Survivors/Victims Do?
If you're currently involved in an abusive relationship, consider contacting the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7233 or texting 1-800-787-3224. This list of domestic violence shelters and resources in Los Angeles compiled by the LA Department of Public Social Services may also be a useful resource.
At TRABOLSI | LEVY | GABBARD LLP, we'll work with you to get the protection you deserve by filing for a protective order against an alleged abuser.
To schedule a consultation with our firm, contact us online or via phone at (310) 455-8364.