COVID 19 and Domestic Violence
Is the pandemic making things worse?
Due to the global pandemic of the coronavirus COVID 19, families and partners are spending more and more time together locked in their home. Being so close to one another without the possibility to leave and lead your usual life has resulted in high stress levels and rising tensions in domestic communities. This results in more household violence, so here’s everything you need to know about how COVID 19 affects domestic violence and how you can stay safe and protect your loved ones.
·Why is this a critical time for domestic abuse?
Since schools are closed, and most sports activities and camps are cancelled, kids all over the world are staying at home. This might cause families to feel frustrated and crowded, without the opportunity to escape and spend some much-needed alone time. At the same time, people are isolated from friends and extended family and can’t enjoy their hobbies and other activities that they might find relaxing, so stress levels are high.
The threat of the coronavirus COVID 19 itself is always present too. Many people, especially those from high-risk groups and essential workers who can’t work from home, are scared of getting infected. Financial factors of getting laid off can also contribute to stress. All of these negative circumstances can result in more family arguments which can escalate and become physically and verbally violent.
·Alcohol abuse and domestic violence
Due to a higher number of stressors, household members might result in alcohol and drug abuse which cause people to act out and cause physical harm to their close family. The WHO reports that there are significant correlations between violence and alcohol and drug abuse. Both psychoactive substances can affect the body and the mind and impact self-control, behaviour and thinking.
People who consume higher doses of alcohol may be less capable to deal with arguments and relationship issues in a non-violent way. Usually, violence is their way of solving things.
·Is the pandemic making it worse?
Since the pandemic started only a few months ago, there’s still no definite evidence that it affects the rate of domestic violence. However, the rate of murder-suicide (a male partner kills a female partner and commits suicide) has gone up when compared to the last year’s reports. An abusive individual can use the situation to dominate their partner, which can end up with physical assault, especially if the family or domestic partnership already has domestic abuse issues.
·What can you do to protect yourself?
There are various things a victim can do to stay safe and escape the abusive individual. Experts recommend finding a safe place to retreat (no bathrooms or kitchens) and designate a trusted family member or friend to call in case of an emergency. There are also people and agencies that can help, so try to find them and memorize their numbers.
For instance, abuse victims in Australia can find experienced criminal lawyers in Parramatta who deal with domestic violence cases and can help with sentencing, conviction and various proceeding issues. Legal experts like these will fight to protect you and allow you to get back to your life safely. Aside from having the law on your side, you can also make important documents, cash and medical and police reports easily accessible at all times.
·Should I learn the abusive behaviours?
If you notice that your family member is behaving hurtfully, threatening you, exhibiting anger issues or harming animals, make sure to create an escape plan. There are apps like MyPlan that might help people determine if behaviours are abusive. They can also provide you with resources that fit your situation and preferences, so make sure to check them out.
·What can I do to help others?
Make sure to check in with family members, friends and neighbours at risk. Do something to raise an alarm in case you suspect violence (about 25% of all reports come from friends and family). However, lockdown measures might make it tricky to report domestic abuse. Luckily, there are ways campaigns and individuals are helping with domestic abuse awareness and teaching people how to spot it and react to it.
Lockdowns and quarantine laws create new challenges fighters for domestic peace have never faced before. However, even with more and more women at the table, it’s still hard to tackle these issues, but things are certainly moving forward. Hopefully, this guide will help victims and their loved ones escape domestic abuse quickly and painlessly.