12 Reasons Why Domestic Violence is on the Rise during COVID-19
The issues with shelter-in-place
Social Isolation – Abusers often try to isolate their victims. With Shelter-in-place, victims won’t have any contact with family members, coworkers, and others outside their home.
Increased monitoring – Shelter-in-place also means that an abuser can monitor a victim’s every action, so victims are unable to reach out for help safely.
No place to go – Some victims may not be able to go to their family or supportive friends’ houses for relief or to escape in fear of spreading COVID-19 to elderly or vulnerable loved ones.
COVID-19 as a Threat
Using COVID-19 to justify Isolation – Abusers may claim to have COVID-19 to prevent victims from leaving and supposedly putting others at risk.
Exposing victims to the virus – Abusers may threaten to infect the victim either through putting the victim out in the streets, or bringing home the virus. We have received many calls this week from survivors who are in this situation.
Preventing medical treatment – If a survivor is infected, the abuser may prevent the victim from receiving medical treatment
Powerlessness when faced with COVID-19
Loss of power/control – Abuse occurs when an abuser attempts to control their victim. Many people feel powerless during the uncertainty of COVID-19, and may attempt to regain control by abusing their victim.
Loss of income – Survivors attempting to escape may have had their income disrupted and are no longer able to build up funds to leave, or may have to deplete those funds for other necessities. Abusers who have lost their jobs may take out frustration on their victim(s).
Control over income – For those that are working from home, an abuser might try to interfere with their source of income.
Perceived lack of help – Abusers may manipulate victims into believing that police or other organizations won’t respond to their calls
Actual lack of help – Many community resources are closing their doors or reducing their services (note: not My Sister’s House)
And if the survivor has already left
Many are being re-triggered – The lack of control from the COVID-19 situation has triggered some of our clients and the abusive situations they left.