- During Coronavirus and shelter in place orders, the domestic violence risk increases.
- It also makes it difficult for victims to seek help or leave the abuser.
- We need contingency plans and funding by government to implement risk control measures against domestic violence.
Currently, coronavirus has been the main topic of discussions and news around the globe. Coronavirus is a global pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China. Many countries around the world closed their borders, implemented quarantines and limited movement. According to John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center there are 367,457 reported cases of the virus around the world and over 16,000 deaths. In the US alone the number of infected people has exceeded 40,000.
For a lot of people it means working from home. The dine-in restaurants are closed. The majority of venues like gyms and movie theaters are closed. Many are staying home and the schools are closed.
At the same time, such isolation is also very dangerous for the victims of domestic violence and their children. Now, their abuser is working from home or laid off, hence the likelihood of an increase in violence.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) Statistics on Domestic Violence:
- On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.
- 1 in 4 women will experience severe intimate partner physical violence.
- On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
- The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
- Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent crime.
- 19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.
- Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of depression and suicidal behavior.
- Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries.
During this time of layoffs, the risk of depression and substance abuse behavior will increase. Hence, DV numbers will go up. How many go unreported?
With shelter in place orders, it would be almost impossible for victims to call the domestic violence abuse hotlines, since their abuser more than likely would be nearby. At the same time leaving the abusive situation has become harder, The option of going to a crisis center or shelter becomes less viable, due to concern of coronavirus spread and being around a large number of people.
The children are at risk too, since schools are closed and they won’t be able to report it to their peer or teacher or trusted adult,
Elderly abuse and animal abuse may also increase.
None of the politicians and state leaders are talking about what contingencies are in place to prevent foreseeable tragedies. Also, there are more victims of domestic violence per year than coronavirus contamination. This of course does not downplay the seriousness of this pandemic.
This is all applicable to the Western world. On the larger global scale, many women and children have no rights or remedy against domestic violence, due to local traditions and laws (or lack of laws). For example, in countries like Russia domestic violence was decriminalized. Therefore, domestic violence victims won’t even have a chance to prosecute their abuser but the number of abused will go up. Many in Russia are working from home too.
While we are busy trying to contain the pandemic and find vaccines, it is also time for responsible politicians to set up contingency plans and funding to control the risk and safe guard the most vulnerable, including children, elderly and animals. They also need to provide more options for the victims of domestic violence during this pandemic crisis.