Domestic Abuse Reports Rising During Pandemic

Reports of domestic abuse worldwide have surged amid the current coronavirus pandemic.  

Lockdowns across the world have meant that victims of domestic abuse are trapped inside, unable to escape their abusers or flee dangerous situations.  

The increased tensions and anxiety among the public may also lead to an increase in violent outbursts in homes according to experts. 

The UN has urged the world’s governments to consider and include the safety of domestic violence victims in their coronavirus responses.  

In a video statement UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said, "Violence is not confined to the battlefield…For many women and girls, the threat looms largest where they should be safest. In their own homes.”  

Guterres described the rise in domestic violence cases across the globe as “horrifying.” 

The rise has been reported in the last few weeks and numbers are only continuing to increase. 

In the UK, more than 25 frontline domestic abuse serviceshave reported an increase in their caseload since the start of the epidemic, while the National Domestic Abuse helpline has seen a 25 per cent increase in calls since lockdown began.  

India reported a doubling in reported cases after one week of lockdown. Cases in France rose by a third in the week after that country's lockdown. While Australia reported a 75 per cent increase in internet searches relating to support for domestic violence victims. 

According to the Irish Daily Mail, gardaí in Ireland have received an increase in the number of calls regarding domestic abuse, with some callers reportedly having to flee to their car to call for help. 

Woman's Aid chief Sarah Benson said a trend has begun to emerge where some people are using the threat and dangers posed by coronavirus to abuse and manipulate their partners. 

"Potential contamination of the virus is being used as a weapon against some women who are suffering from ill-health," Benson said, before adding that the outbreak has left vulnerable women "struggling and even more at risk." 

Benson said that the majority of calls to their national helpline have referenced the Covid-19 pandemic as an “aggravating factor” in their abuse. 

Some celebrities and brands have shown their support for domestic violence charities such as Women’s Aid during the current pandemic.  

Beauty brand Avon for example have launched its “Isolated Not Alone” campaign on March 31st to raise awareness for what they describe as the “silent epidemic”. Alongside the Avon Foundation for Women they $1m to front-line services to support women and children in need and at risk.