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Connection Between COVID-19 & Domestic Violence

by | May 13, 2020 | Criminal Defense, Criminal Procedure, Family Violence

Did you know that across the globe, domestic violence calls have surged since the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) took the world by storm? The first place it was observed was China. As families were subject to strict stay-at-home orders, authorities saw an indisputable surge in domestic violence calls, a situation that hasn’t been restricted to China. It’s happening all over.

Why the spike in domestic violence calls? The reasons are many. People who were already abusive simply had more time and an opportunity to continue the abuse. But that’s not all. Much of it has to do with the added stress and pressure that millions of Americans are under. Imagine one or both spouses lost their jobs. The kids are home and running around screaming. The parents aren’t sure if they can put food on the table or pay for their housing – emotions can reach the boiling point until one or both parties snap.

Quarantine and Domestic Violence

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), violence in the home can negatively affect people’s physical and mental health. As such, domestic or “family violence” can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, a higher risk of chronic diseases, and risky substance abuse behaviors. It’s a downward spiral that could also lead to a domestic violence arrest and a criminal history.

“Now, experts worry that all these numbers could increase dramatically during this period of social distancing and quarantine. Psychologist Josie Serrata, Ph.D., research and evaluation consultant and co-owner of Prickly Pear Therapy and Training, has found in her research that stress and social isolation can raise the risk of domestic violence,” Ashley Abramson wrote for the APA.

In Serrata’s 2019 study, she found that stress associated with Hurricane Harvey led to higher rates of child abuse and domestic violence during and after the hurricane. She said they found social factors put people at a higher risk of violence, such as stress due to strained finances, job loss, and disconnection from social support systems. And as it turns out, the same thing is happening with COVID-19 and it’s happening all over.

Has the stress of COVID-19 led you to family violence charges? To explore your legal defenses, we urge you to contact Attorney Peter Barrett for help.