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Is COVID-19 causing more domestic violence?

According to the United Nations, emerging data suggests that since the outbreak of COVID-19, domestic violence has intensified.

There are several factors that may be contributing to the increase in cases of domestic violence, including the rise of security, health, and financial worries, in addition to possible tensions between domestic partners that are accentuated by cramped and confined living conditions. More than half of the world’s population was under lockdown conditions by early April.

Although it is not clear whether new cases of domestic violence could arise from these factors, it is unlikely for someone who is historically nonviolent to start acting violently. However, if domestic abuse is already a problem in the relationship, then the effects of the pandemic might be making it worse.

As healthcare systems all over the world were overwhelmed by COVID-19, there was an increase in reports of domestic violence. Life-saving care and support for persons experiencing violence may be disrupted when health service providers are preoccupied with handling COVID-19 cases.

Also, because of the need to observe social distancing for everyone including sectors involved with a coordinated response to domestic violence cases, there is a challenge to provide vital and meaningful support to persons experiencing violence.

If you have experienced or are currently experiencing this in your intimate relationship, know that you are not alone and you can seek help by calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 (SAFE). For specific resources available, please also refer to "What resources exist for domestic violence victims?"

Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine, UN Women

This article was written and edited by the Tayo editorial desk and has been reviewed by an independent panel of subject matter experts.

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