While there may be an end in sight, recent studies show domestic violence continues to increase due to COVID-19. Domestic violence is characterized by physical or threatening behaviors which include but are not limited to:
- Physical abuse or violence
- Emotional / psychological abuse or consistent manipulation
- Sexual abuse
- Economic manipulation
The burdens of social distancing and balancing changing work and school schedules, remote learning, working from home, furloughs and the precautions associated with COVID-19 have substantially increased the level of stress in many households.
Many recent studies from the US, EU, Brazil and Australia reflect numbers which confirm domestic violence continues to increase due to COVID-19 related issues. Isolation, combined with social, economic and psychological stresses increase negative coping behaviors. Here in the US, a report by the American Medical Association (AMA) showed a 54% rise in alcohol sales during the first 3 months of the pandemic. Alcohol sales have increased by more than 33% on average over the course of the pandemic. Alcohol abuse is one of the most common triggers of domestic violence.
Every one of us has an inherent need to control many of the things in our life to some level. While some philosophers might argue “control is an illusion” the feeling of being “out of control” has surged during COVID-19. The AMA study noted “coercive control” is a behavioral response to feelings of being out of control. Predators use this an opportunity to increase control, using the issues of social distancing, risk of contagion and associated fears to exert unhealthy control.
The study further noted that many domestic violence and abuse victims were afraid to go to the hospital or seek medical treatment for fear they would contract COVID-19.
The Certified Family Law Specialists at Burke & Domercq are concerned about and committed to the safety of all. While domestic violence continues to increase due to COVID-19 the end of the pandemic is perhaps in sight. COVID-19 has already lead to an increase in divorce cases as well as post-decree challenges associated with custody and parenting time and support.