Domestic violence—particularly against women and girls—was already an epidemic before COVID-19; the global pandemic has only made the situation worse.
The global health crisis has caused an unprecedented spike in incidents of domestic abuse. Even before
the COVID-19 pandemic began, 1 in 3 women experienced violence mostly by an intimate partner. While women are disproportionately impacted, men are not immune from domestic violence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 9 men will experience some form of intimate partner violence in their lifetimes.
Domestic violence is about power and control, as it deprives survivors of their agency and confidence, often making it difficult to report. Being confined and isolated during a lockdown, along with added stresses, tension and financial insecurity, may exacerbate existing abuse. Working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has made reporting and seeking help even harder, particularly if a survivor is unable to leave the house to go to work or carry out other routine tasks. Simply making a call privately may be impossible. Not going into the workplace may deprive a survivor of the ability to talk to colleagues and access information, services and support confidentially during working hours.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been increases in calls to domestic violence hotlines around the world. So what can we do, as Union brothers and sisters, to help survivors? The experience of surviving relationship abuse is traumatic, and people in any stage of an abusive relationship should be able to depend on others for support as they process complex emotions and navigate next steps. One of the most crucial things we can all do is share information and resources so survivors can maintain their autonomy and get help on their own terms.
Resources and more information:
Domestic Violence Helpline collections: https://www.facebook.com/safety/domesticviolenceresources
Domestic Violence Resources, Canada: https://endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help-2/
The Warning Signs of Abuse: https://www.thehotline.org/identify-abuse/warning-signs-of-abuse/
“Where Can Domestic Violence Victims Turn During Covid-19?” https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/23/opinion/covid-domestic-violence.html
“How to help a victim of domestic violence” https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-help-a-victim-of-domestic-violence-66533
Help for Abused Men: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/help-for-men-who-are-being-abused.htm
UN Women, https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/in-focus-gender-equality-in-covid-19-response/violence-against-women-during-covid-19 and https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/facts-and-figures
“26 years in, the Violence Against Women Act hangs in limbo — while COVID fuels a domestic violence surge” https://19thnews.org/2020/09/26-years-in-the-violence-against-women-act-hangs-in-limbo-while-covid-fuels-a-domestic-violence-surge