The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has put our nation in crisis, especially in regard to its economic impact, but a new crisis has emerged as a result of the pandemic – domestic violence has surged in the U.S. and across the globe.
As lawmakers enforced movement restrictions to stop the spread of the coronavirus, it had an unintended effect: it made domestic or family violence more common in homes. In some cases, the violence had reached new heights in severity and dangerousness.
In The New York Times, Amanda Taub wrote about how mountain data is suggesting that domestic abuse has been like an “opportunistic infection, flourishing in conditions created by the pandemic.” According to Marianne Hester, a Bristol University sociologist who studies abusive relationships, domestic violence spikes during the holidays and summer vacations, times when families are spending more time together.
“Now, with families in lockdown worldwide, hotlines are lighting up with abuse reports, leaving governments trying to address a crisis that experts say they should have seen coming,” wrote Taub.
The Council on Foreign Relations understands the causes behind the surge. The agency says that unemployment, an increased number of sick people, increased anxiety, financial stress, and a lack of community resources have set the stage for an uptick in domestic violence cases.
“Many victims find themselves isolated in violent homes, without access to resources or friend and family networks. Abusers could experience heightened financial pressures and stress, increase their consumption of alcohol or drugs, and purchase or hoard guns as an emergency measure. Experts have characterized an ‘invisible pandemic’ of domestic violence during the COVID-19 crisis as a ‘ticking time bomb’ or a ‘perfect storm,’ according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, we urge you to contact the Law Firm of Johnson & Gaskill PLLC to explore your legal options.