October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and this year restrictions related to COVID-19 are related to increase risk of violence and abuse. The Covid-19 pandemic has altered the daily habits of many people due to stay at home (SAH) orders, recommendations for social distancing, and school systems limiting in class education. The CDC reports that Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) occurs at a rate of one of five women and one of seven men (CDC, 2020). In addition to increased time spent in the home many households are experiencing increased in economic hardships from under employment or continued employment in service sector jobs which carry increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. SAH and social distancing during COVIS-19 has been shown to be related to increase incidence of new domestic violence events (Bullinger, Carr, Packham, 2020). Additionally children homeschooling has placed strain on caregivers and reduced the amount of contact between children and educators who are often the first to detect signs of abuse or neglect. Child abuse and neglect occurs for about one in seven children (CDC, 2020).
The Covid-19 pandemic has also affected the resources systems in place to assist victims of IPV or child abuse. Shelters may have decreased capacity and longer waiting lists due to COVID-19 safety measures. Access to medical and behavioral healthcare may be altered during the pandemic. Some people living with IPV may be less likely to report violence due to fear of repercussion from abusers (Evans, Farrell, Lindauer, 2020). As behavioral health care providers it is urgent that we become familiar with the current resources, identify the need to adapt safety plans, and provide education to all patients including those who have not disclosed IPV (Abramson, 2020). Use of the resources below can begin to address the increased incidence of violence and abuse being experienced during the worldwide pandemic.
Resources for Patients (Evans, Farrell, Lindauer, 2020)
- Stronghearts Native Helpline 1-844-762-8483
- Office on Women's Health Helpline 1-800-994-9662
- Military dependents: If you are afraid your internet usage might be monitored, visit the 24/7 Family Advocacy Program Victim Advocate Locator (MilitaryOneSource, 2020)).
Elizabeth Bande RN/BSN
PMHNP Doctoral Student
Abramson, A. (April 8, 2020) How Covid-19 May Increase Domestic Partner Violence and Child Abuse. American Psychological Association. https://www.apa.org/topics/covid-19/domestic-violence-child-abuse
Bullinger, L.R., Carr, J.B., Packham, A., (2020) COVID-19 and Crime: Effects of Stay-at-Home Orders on Domestic Violence, The National Bureau of Economic Research, https://DOI:10.3386/w27667
Center for Disease Control, (2020) Child Abuse and Neglect, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/index.html
Center for Disease Control, (2020) Intimate Partner Violence, https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/index.html
Evans, M.L., Farrell, M.E., Lindauer, M., (September 16, 2020) A Pandemic Within a Pandemic, Intimate Partner Violence During Covid-19, The New England Journal of Medicine. https://DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp2024046
MilitaryOneSource, (2020) Domestic Violence Awareness Toolkit, https://www.militaryonesource.mil/leaders-service-providers/child-abuse-and-domestic-abuse/2020-domestic-violence-awareness-month-toolkit
SAMSHA, (2020), Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse Considerations During Covid-19. https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/social-distancing-domestic-violence.pdf