Pandemic: Increased Danger for Victims of Domestic Violence

outbreak coronavirus

As Covid-19 spreads across the globe, “sheltering in place” for victims of abuse, especially Domestic Violence can cause immediate danger as they are forced to isolate with their abuser. The extreme lockdown with Covid-19, it makes it exponentially more difficult for a victim of domestic violence in the home to go somewhere else and escape abuse.

“Perpetrators of domestic violence commonly try to isolate victims and cut off their relationships with coworkers or friends or family,” said Allison Randall, vice president for policy and emerging issues for the National Network to End Domestic Violence. “Not being able to go to work and connect with your colleagues, it can certainly increase your vulnerability. Coronavirus can lead to folks being trapped in abusive relationships, not because of the virus itself, but because of its economic impacts.”

Research suggests that incidences of domestic violence rise after natural disasters, such as hurricanes. This is likely because perpetrators have increased access to their families and they can get away with the abuse more easily as support services break down.

Ruth Glenn, the president of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said she was worried that victims will avoid domestic violence shelters due to the social distancing recommendation, especially if they’ve never been to one and don’t know what to expect.

“Victims have to make a decision about not only safety but their well-being and health,” she said, adding that they may be unsure of the health and hygiene practices at shelters and concerned about sharing a communal space with strangers.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

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