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COVID-19 Causes Domestic Violence to Spike in the US

If you're in an abusive relationship, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 1-800-799-7223 or texting 1-800-727-3224. Alternatively, you may find this list of domestic violence resources provided by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families helpful. Please stay safe.

Recent statistics from organizations like UN Women and countries such as the US and Chine indicate that domestic violence rates are surging in the US and across the globe at large—and the COVID-19 pandemic plays a central role.

Today, we're exploring why the COVID-19 pandemic may be to blame for the recent rise in domestic violence.

Have Domestic Violence Rates in the US Increased Since the Start of the COVID-19 Pandemic?

All signs point towards yes. A study by the University of Texas at Dallas found that incidents of intimate partner violence increased by 12.5% when the city issued its stay-at-home order.

In Chicago, around 389 people called the city's domestic violence hotline per week, according to statistics in early March. By the first week of April, the number of weekly calls had increased to 549.

Stay-at-home orders and lockdowns play a key role here. Only seventeen states listed domestic partner survivors/victims as "exempt from stay-at-home orders," so many people in abusive situations feel as though they have no way to escape abusive situations.

While the lockdowns instituted by most cities have helped reduce the spread of COVID-19, they've also, unfortunately, created an environment ripe for abuse. Survivors/victims cannot get time away from their abuser due to work or other activities. Additionally, the financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic may make it easier for abusers to control their partners by acting as their only source of financial support. Finally, increased proximity to abusers for extended periods of time may speed up the cycle of violence, making incidents more severe.

Has the Domestic Violence Rate Increased in Other Countries?

Yes. In Jinghzou, China, domestic violence calls increased by almost 300% year-to-year in February of 2020, when its quarantine was in place. United Nations women also released a report stating that countries across the world could see increased rates of intimate partner violence by as much as 15-20% on average.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to persist, lawyers and law enforcement officers across the US should brace for increased domestic violence cases.

At Lane & Lane, LLC, we stand ready to help survivors/victims receive the protection they need from abusers.

To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (908) 259-6673.

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