For those lucky enough to not know what it’s like to feel unsafe in your own home, the stay-at-home order might feel like a burden or make you feel a bit cagey, but for women and men living with abusers it could mean life or death.
It’s been known and reported that domestic violence increases when families and partners spend more time together (think school holidays, summer, and Christmas), and past research on natural disasters has shown that domestic violence increases with natural disasters. During the earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, domestic violence increased by 20% in the city and 40% in rural areas. The stress of a disaster and money issues that come with it leads to an increase in domestic violence.
COVID-19 is no exception to that. In China, domestic violence reports doubled in January 2020 and tripled in February 2020, and worldwide, there are reports of violence increasing:
- South Africa had 90,000 reports of gender-based violence within the first week of lockdown
- France has seen domestic violence rise by 32%
- India had doubled the number of gender-based violence reported within the first week of restrictions
- Australia saw a 75% increase in online searches related to domestic violence
Across the United States, there have been domestic violence calls to the police department increasing as high as 70% in Victoria, Texas. With New York reporting an increase in 15-20% and New Jersey reporting an increase of 24%.
Currently, with shelter-in-place orders, some shelters have closed their doors. However, many hotels are working with shelters around the world to provide housing to partners leaving domestic violence. Within the U.S., some states have started offering remote restraining orders. Currently, the list includes Connecticut, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
While it may seem harder in these COVID-19 times to escape, if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you/they are not alone. There is help available:
- National Domestic Violence Hotline (U.S.)
- Love Is Respect (U.S.)
- National Domestic Abuse Hotline (U.K.)
- Domestic Violence Helplines (Australia)
If you think someone you know may be being isolated or in danger, review the resources available and reach out to them. Most importantly, help them make a safety plan and provide support in whatever way you can (monetary, shelter, an ear to listen, etc.)
Need to Talk?
National Domestic Violence Hotline
24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) in more than 200 languages
Text LOVEIS to 22522
Danielle Hennis created this infographic on how COVID-19 impacts more than we may think. Domestic violence is a hidden threat to women and men everywhere.