During the pandemic there were 5x as many calls to domestic violence helplines. Cities all around the country experienced spikes in domestic violence, with some areas seeing an almost 30% increase. Why did the pandemic lead to this increase?
One of the biggest reasons domestic violence increased amidst the pandemic was due to the increased opportunity for already existing abusers. Some victims had been experiencing instances of violence in the past, but during the pandemic they were isolated at home with their abuser. This led to more frequent instances of violence, and less interaction with mandated reporters. Usually, victims come into contact with teachers, doctors, or other mandated reporters who will report if they see any sign of abuse. During the pandemic, this was more difficult to do and so abuse continued for longer without being reported.
Another reason domestic violence increased was the increase of stressors in individuals. With concerns about financial security and health as well as cramped living conditions amid the lockdown, stress in some individuals were at an all-time high. Cramped living conditions also made it more difficult for victims to report their abuse, as many services were only available over video or phone call where abusers could overhear.
Post-lockdown it is important for victims to know that they are supported in reporting and leaving their abusive partners. If you or a loved one has experienced any instances of domestic abuse, you can call the national domestic violence hotline or visit them online to find services closest to you. You can learn more about this in the infographic below: