While COVID-19-related lockdowns may have decreased the spread of a deadly virus, they appear to have created an ideal environment for increased domestic violence. Extra stress in the COVID-19 pandemic caused by income loss, and lack of ability to pay for housing and food has exacerbated the often silent epidemic of intimate partner violence, suggests a new University of California, Davis, study.
Data collected in surveys of nearly 400 adults for 10 weeks beginning in April 2020 suggest that more services and communication are needed so that even front-line health and food bank workers, for example — rather than only social workers, doctors and therapists — can spot the signs and ask clients questions about potential intimate partner violence. They could then help lead victims to resources, said Clare Cannon, assistant professor of social and environmental justice in the Department of Human Ecology and the lead author of the study.
Research participants in the study completed an online survey asking about previous disaster experience, perceived stress, their current situation as it relates to COVID-19, if they experienced intimate partner violence, and what their personal and household demographics were. In all, 374 people completed the survey. Respondents, whose average age was 47, were asked about how COVID-19 had affected them financially and otherwise.
Of the respondents, 39 reported having experienced violence in their relationship, and 74 percent of those people were women.
The paper, “COVID-19, intimate partner violence, and communication ecologies,” was published in American Behavioral Scientist.
Release date: 24 February 2021
Source: University of California – Davis