The COVID-19 has changed our way of life dramatically over the past few months. People spend more time staying home with family, but it does not mean that everyone is safe at home. The United Nations has highlighted the emerging evidence of the impact of the recent global pandemic of COVID-19 on violence against women and children. Globally, there are 243 million women and girls aged 15-29 who have been subjected to sexual and/or physical violence perpetrated by an intimate partner in the previous 12 months. The number is “likely to INCREASE” as security, health, and money worries heighten tensions and strains are accentuated by cramped and confined living conditions during the pandemic. According to a UN report, Argentina, Australia, Canada, UK, France, Germany, South Africa, the US, among others, reported significant increases in domestic violence reports.
Low-income families are the focal points in domestic violence issues. In times of crisis, evidence shows that risk of domestic violence increases. A study has indicated that actions during the pandemic, such as social-distancing, sheltering-in-place, restricted travel, and closures of essential community foundations, are likely to increase the risk for family violence around the globe dramatically. Stay-at-home orders, for example, are especially difficult for victims living with an abusive partner. Being inside together for more extended periods may increase opportunities for abuse.
In the US, domestic violence calls for service spiked during March in many US cities. Nearly 7 million women and 5.7 million men are victims of domestic violence each year. In New York City alone, domestic violence calls to police were up 7 percent between January 1 and late March this year, relative to the same period in 2019.
Several governments have called for attention to the rise of domestic violence cases during the pandemic. The UN Secretary-General called for a global ceasefire on a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence.” Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, Founder and CEO of the International Civil Society Action Network, describes this development that “violence in the home, predominantly perpetrated by men against women and children is a pandemic within the pandemic.”
What Can We Do If You Found Someone Experiencing Domestic Abuse?
The National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), offers tips on how you can help a friend dealing with domestic abuse while also maintaining your safety during a public health crisis.
- Ask them how they would prefer to connect
- Stay in touch and be creative
- Be supportive and believe in them
- Help them think through how to stay safe during COVID-19
- Help find a local domestic violence helpline
Please pay more attention to your family, neighbors, friends, and relatives. You may be the first to become aware of an abusive situation and can help respond.
As a non-profit organization, the IACS continues to promote collaborations between human welfare agencies, expanding community partnerships, and informing the public of the great importance of reporting any concerns of domestic violence abuse.
Citation suggestion: Institute for Asian Crime and Security, IACS (2021): STOP The Domestic Violence. figshare. Online resource. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.15127740.v2