Home is the safest place to be while coronavirus pandemic rages outside. But, for some people, home is a place where violence and abuse take place. Self-isolation forces victims of domestic violence and their children into uncomfortable and dangerous circumstances. They have to be shut inside a small place with their abusers. Because of the government’s new measures, everyone has been told to stay at home. Unfortunately, the unprecedented measures can lead to more people finding themselves being victims of domestic abuse.
During the coronavirus outbreak, life has sapped victims outlets for relief. The services designed to support even the most isolated of these victims are struggling to help from a distance. Notice that abuse survivors are familiar with the rules of social isolation already. However, now the situation is worse. The pandemic is helping abusers. It is the perfect storm for someone who wants to isolate or hurt a partner.
Know more about the rates of domestic violence in quarantine
Domestic violence cases spike in times of prolonged stress and disruption, like financial crises and natural disasters. Communities under stay-at-home orders are already reporting higher call volumes to local domestic violence resources.
Right activists in China say that instances of domestic violence there are increasing. Support services in Australia reported an increase in coronavirus-related family abuse because of the pandemic as well.
Issues to consider
Sexual assault victims may feel hesitant to go to a hospital to receive a rape kit. Now that hospitals are operating at full capacity, it is even harder to take this decision. Physicians are pleading with the public to avoid burdening the health care system, so why abused people should leave their homes? Some think that it is not worth it.
The issue with children of abuse victims is that they have to stay incarcerated as well. Usually, they know where to go to get away from the violence. They have the option to go to school, an after-school activity, a friend’s house. Anywhere but home.
However, the social ties children rely on for relief were severed. Teachers, coaches, and allies outside the home would be able to help. But now they are not with the child every day. Even in families where conflict has never escalated to violence, children are now at a higher risk of physical abuse because of additional stressors. Unemployment is a strong example.
What to do
For victims who don’t have access to websites, the phone or other people, friends, coworkers or neighbors should reach out to them and advocate on their behalf. Call a hotline if you fear for their safety. If you work together, seek them out under the guise of a work matter and ask how they’re doing.
There’s no blanket approach to help all victims of abuse. Their identities, whether they’re a child or adult, identified as LGBTQ+, physically impaired or undocumented immigrants, nothing of this changes the fact that they need help. Thus, despite the challenge, this is an excellent opportunity to practice solidarity and help victims of domestic violence during the coronavirus pandemic.