Domestic Violence Spikes Amid COVID-19 Crisis

“United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, citing a sharp rise in domestic violence amid global coronavirus lockdowns, called on governments around the world to make addressing the issue a key part of their response to the pandemic,” NPR reported on April 6.

Guterres said that for many women and girls, their largest threats loom in their own homes where they should be the safest. "We know lockdowns and quarantines are essential to suppressing COVID-19, but they can trap women with abusive partners," Guterres said. "Over the past weeks, as the economic and social pressures and fear have grown, we have seen a horrifying surge in domestic violence."

Domestic violence surges since lockdowns have been reported in France, South Africa, Lebanon, Malaysia, Australia, and China, but similar spikes in family violence are being reported across the globe. In China, for example, the number of domestic violence calls has tripled, according to the United Nations.

COVID-19’s New Public Health Crisis

The coronavirus is affecting virtually every aspect of our personal and professional lives. In the context of families, it’s impacting child support, child custody, and now the safety of victims of domestic violence, which is predominantly women and children, though men can be victims.

Mounting data from countries all over the world are suggesting that stay inside orders and government lockdowns are a breeding ground for spousal and child abuse.

The very restrictions set in place to protect Americans from being infected with the coronavirus are placing them in danger of their abusive partners. It’s already known that domestic violence spikes when families spend more time together, such as during the holidays and summer vacations, and now with families forced to stay indoors together, domestic violence is surging.

This is the case in New York, but it's occurring in all states. During the stay inside orders, families can’t go outside and their conflicts are growing bigger and bigger until someone snaps.

“Eventually, the lockdowns will end. But as the confinement drags on, the danger seems likely to intensify. Studies show that abusers are more likely to murder their partners and others in the wake of personal crises, including lost jobs or major financial setbacks,” Amanda Taub wrote in The New York Times.

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