According to various law enforcement agencies, a rise in domestic violence has been documented since the start of the coronavirus lockdown in mid-March, some departments reporting as much as a 35% increase in reports when comparing March to February.
There are many factors that could contribute to the rise in cases, including financial situation and a history of domestic abuse combined with forced confinement. Steve Muller, sheriff of Cherokee Country, South Carolina, stated:
The financial stress alone creates a ticking time bomb for some families with a history of domestic violence.
With businesses closing around the world, it is estimated that millions of people will be out of work for the coming months as the battle against COVID-19 continues. With tension already heightened due to the confinement, lack of financial security can certainly be a catalyst for domestic abuse.
Numerous police departments across the U.S. reported an increase in calls regarding domestic abuse since mid-march. The National Domestic Violence Hotline reported that almost 2,000 of the callers they received after the 16th stated that their abuser was using the coronavirus lockdown as leverage when instilling fear and issuing control over their partner.
Since the lockdown came into effect, the National Domestic Abuse Helpline run by the charity Refuge has reportedly seen a 25% increase in pleas for help via telephone as well as through their online portal.
This increase in volume is causing charitable foundations and domestic violence shelters to prepare for an increase in refugees who will come to them for aid. However, with the lockdown in effect, many organizations have had to cancel fundraising events, causing concern for how they will be able to afford to care for families who may be in need of support during this difficult and unprecedented time.
Nevertheless, police services, as well as helplines, remain available 24/7 to assist those who may be experiencing any forms of abuse and are looking for assistance.
For support for yourself or a loved one you can contact:
UK - National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
America - National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-(800) 799-7233