Domestic Violence Reports Rise Amid Coronavirus Pandemic


Lindsey Reynolds Contributor
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A recent data report from the National Hotline for Domestic Violence (NHDV) showed a substantial increase in domestic abuse from March 16 to May 16, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to warrant stay-at-home orders.

NHDV found a 9% increase in total contacts received from victims and survivors, despite victims’ increased levels of fearfulness due to close proximity with abusers in the home, according to the report. The hotline reported 62,413 total contacts made, with 6,210 contacts specifically citing COVID-19.

“Incoming contact volume in April 2020 was 15% higher compared to April of 2019,” the NHDV told the Daily Caller. “At the start of the pandemic, in March 2020, survivors were in close proximity to their abusers, and it may have been less safe to reach out for support. As a result, we did not experience an immediate increase in contact volume.”

The NHDV report recounts a number of caller circumstances. One couldn’t file paperwork to remove the abuser from their home due to coronavirus-related court closures, the report states. Another had tested positive for COVID-19 and said their abuser was using self-isolation to keep them from contacting their family, even threatening them with deportation as the caller is in the process of becoming a U.S. citizen. (RELATED: Obama Judge Rules Trump Admin Must Provide Mental Health Services To Separated Migrant Families)

Clinical psychologist and co-owner of Prickly Pear Therapy and Training Dr. Josie Serrata concluded in her research that stress and social isolation fuels greater risks of domestic violence.

“We found social factors that put people more at risk for violence are reduced access to resources, increased stress due to job loss or strained finances, and disconnection from social support systems,” Serrata told the American Psychological Association. “With this pandemic, we’re seeing similar things happen, which unfortunately leads to circumstances that can foster violence.”

Psychiatric experts also concluded that symptoms of anxiety and depression have and will increase during the pandemic. A team of 25 experts wrote the “Multidisciplinary research priorities for the COVID-19 pandemic: a call for action for mental health science,” which was published by Lance Psychiatry on April 15.

“There is an urgent need for research to address how mental health consequences for vulnerable groups can be mitigated under pandemic conditions, and on the impact of repeated media consumption and health messaging around COVID-19,” the authors wrote.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization stated “the impact of the pandemic on people’s mental health is already extremely concerning … social isolation, fear of contagion, and loss of family members is compounded by the distress caused by loss of income and often employment.”