How COVID-19 Is Increasing Domestic Violence

By definition, domestic violence is:

Violent or aggressive behavior within the home, typically involving the violent abuse of a spouse or partner.

This includes sexual violence, physical violence and stalking.

In the United States, the domestic violence numbers are staggering. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million women and men are victims of domestic violence over the course of 12 months. 

Here are a few more figures regarding domestic violence in the U.S.:

  • On Average

    24 people per minute are victims of domestic violence

  • Men & Women Are Victims

    35.6 percent of women and 28.5 percent of men have experienced some form of domestic violence in their lifetime

  • Injuries Are Common

    14.8 percent of women have been injured due to domestic violence; 4 percent of men have been injured

  • Age Matters

    Women age 18-24 and 25-34 experience the highest rate of domestic violence

  • Rape Is Frequent

    18.3 percent of women have been raped in their lifetime

  • Children Are Involved

    Children witnessed 22 percent of reported domestic violence cases

  • Children Are Also Abused

    Between 30 and 60 percent of domestic abusers also abuse children

These numbers are frightening and unacceptable. And due to the COVID-19 pandemic, domestic violence has only increased across the states. 

According to an April 4 report from CNN:

Several cities are already reporting jumps in domestic violence cases or calls to local hotlines. Some shelters around the country say they’re full — some after reducing their capacity to maintain social distancing — and struggling to help survivors.

And since national and state governments have asked citizens to stay at home as a method to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak, victims of domestic violence are now stuck at home with their abusers, according to CNN.

The pandemic has shattered exit plans that some victims have spent months developing…And the deluge of stress and fear — of unemployment, of sickness, of death — is only intensifying the abuse they face…The services designed to support even the most isolated of these victims are struggling to help from a distance.

Plainly put, those that experience abuse no longer have the ability to escape their homes, and with the pandemic adding stress to home environments, those with abusive habits have seen those habits become heightened and boil to the surface. 

Victims are unable to visit their friends, counselors, psychologists, even their families, essentially trapping them in their homes with their abusers. 

Said Val Kalei Kanuha, assistant dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Washington’s School of Social Work:

“This particular situation with Covid-19 is so unusual because it really challenges all of us to think out of the ‘just leave’ box. You can’t tell somebody to leave because there’s no place to go.”

Even though these circumstances might seem grim, there is help available. 

Below is a list of hotlines that can be reached for those needing support during a bout with domestic violence:

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline


    Text LOVEIS to 22522

    Online Chat

  • National Sexual Assault Hotline


    Online Chat

  • Crisis Text Hotline

    Text HOME to 741741

  • Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline


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