The COVID-19 pandemic not only saw an increase in hospitalized patients but also a rise in calls to helplines. Since 2020, intimate partner violence jumped across the U.S. with New York experiencing a 10% increase in domestic violence reports and San Antonio receiving 18% more calls related to family violence.
A rise in cyberstalking cases has led more people to download spyware specifically for cyberstalking. In the U.S., at least 7% of men and women have been the victim of cyberstalking. However, only 24% of those who were caught for misdemeanor stalking were properly convicted.
Marginalized groups are the hardest hit with them experiencing an increase of 50% or more in terms of the rate of abuse. These minorities were also most affected by the higher unemployment levels and higher likelihood of infection that came with the pandemic.
Several factors contribute to the rise in domestic abuse during the pandemic. These include increased concerns and anxiety around security, health, unemployment, finance, and unsuitable living conditions. More opportunities for abuse due to being alone with abusers, having lack of movement outside, and going to public places that have become deserted due to the pandemic have also caused increased abuse. One of the big factors is the decrease in safeguards like in-person visits with child-care providers and clinicians, precincts having inconsistent reporting methods, and the reduction in safe screenings due to the move to telemedicine.
The U.S. has seen 66% of those experiencing injury from domestic abuse not receiving proper medical care. In fact, 50% of domestic abuse incidents aren’t reported for reasons like having a lack of privacy, worrying others won’t believe them, losing confidence, and losing immigration status and child custody. Others might be controlled into staying by abusers through threats to injure or kill the victim’s pets.
Nonetheless, there are ways people can act against domestic violence. One of them is understanding the warning signs of domestic abuse so that it can be prevented before it becomes serious. Considering that almost 20% of people know someone who has been a victim of domestic abuse and 17% of people know someone who initiated violence, calling the police or writing down incidents of witnessed abuse can be helpful for victims. You can also support local organizations by raising awareness for domestic violence in your community and donating to shelters and organizations that help abuse victims feel safe.
Someone who is experiencing domestic violence may not be able to actively research shelters or learn about useful services safely, so doing what you can could help them get the support they need.