If you are suffering from domestic violence, you can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 by calling 1-800-799-7233 or texting 1-800-787-3224. Additionally, this list of resources in Florida may help you. Stay safe.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world at large for almost a year now, changing how many of us live on a day-to-day basis. Unfortunately, it appears that one side effect of the virus may be an increase in domestic violence. Today, we're exploring how (and why) incidents of domestic violence may be escalating under COVID-19.
Evidence of COVID-Related Increases in Domestic Violence
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around one in four women and one in ten men in the U.S. experience physical intimate partner violence (IPV) at some point.
Given the already high incidence of IPV within relationships, the prospect of increasing domestic violence rates should be a concern for citizens and state officials alike. Unfortunately, statistics do indicate a rise in IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In China, where the pandemic first became widespread, domestic violence hotlines in cities like Qianjian and Jinghzhou reported almost twice as many calls throughout March 2020 as occurred in March 2019.
Cities and domestic violence hotlines in the U.S. appear to have experienced a similar surge. A study by the University of Texas at Dallas found that incidents of IPV increased by 12.5% when the city initiated a stay-at-home order. Those figures almost mirrored a 12% increase in calls to Chicago domestic violence hotlines when citizens there went into quarantine.
Studies have also indicated a rise in femicide resulting from IPV. The UK reported higher femicide rates for 2020 than at any point in the past 11 years, with an average twice as high as previous years. Mexico also reported an 8% increase in femicides, and UN Women released a statement calling domestic violence during COVID-19 a "shadow pandemic."
Why Would COVID-19 Correlate with an Increase in IPV?
A few factors contribute to the rise of IPV during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- People are more stressed. Studies indicate that individuals with abusive tendencies are more likely to lash out at partners and children when stressed. Various trends associated with the pandemic, such as job losses and less time outside the house, could lead to a rise in stress - and therefore, in IPV.
- It's easier for abusers to financially isolate survivors/victims. Tens of millions of Americans have lost employment during the pandemic, which could make it easier for abusers to isolate a survivor/victim dependent on the abuser for financial stability.
- It's harder for survivors/victims to seek help. Not only is the economy unstable, but survivors/victims may find it harder to find space in facilities such as domestic violence shelters due to social distancing protocols.
As a result of the increase in IPV throughout the pandemic, several cities have announced a renewed focus on addressing IPV within law enforcement departments. Hopefully, as stay-at-home orders deescalate in severity, it will be easier and easier for survivors/victims of IPV to receive the assistance they deserve.
At The Law Offices of Jason K.S. Porter, P.A., we help Florida citizens navigate domestic violence cases. To receive the legal counsel you deserve, contact our office online or via phone at (904) 701-0591.