Domestic violence requests for assistance increased by 20% during the pandemic

Written by Tara N. Richards and Justin Nicks

Domestic violence rose globally in 2020 – so much so that doctors have called it ‘Pandemic into a Pandemic. ”

The National Committee for COVID-19 Control and Criminal JusticeA team of national experts tasked with assessing the impact of COVID-19 on the justice system, Recently estimated That’s in the United States, local violence Accidents increased 8.1% on average after stay-at-home orders. all over the world United nations It is estimated that there was a 20% increase in domestic violence incidents across the 193 member states during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns.

We are criminologists with expertise in domestic violence and police, respectively. To understand whether and how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected calls for help for domestic violence in the United States, We are testing Short and long-term trends in 911 calls about domestic violence following stay-at-home orders in five U.S. cities and one county: Cincinnati, Ohio; Montgomery County, Maryland; New Orleans, Louisiana; Phoenix, Arizona; Salt Lake City, Utah; Seattle, Washington.

In five of the six places – all but Cincinnati – stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic have increased 911 calls related to domestic violence. But 911 calls tell only part of the story about how the pandemic has affected calls for help for domestic violence. else The next study He explains that emergency hotlines providing crisis support to victims of domestic violence have also seen a spike in calls.

In five of the seven cities we examined – Baltimore, Maryland; Cincinnati. Hartford, Connecticut; Salt Lake City and St. Petersburg, Florida – Emergency hotlines saw an increase in calls in early March 2020. We estimate that due to the pandemic, a combined emergency hotlines received 1,671 calls from March to October 2020 than they would otherwise have had it not been for the pandemic.

Experts predicted an increase in domestic violence victims seeking help in the past year. Victims and their children were forced to spend more time with their abusers. They have been cut off from support systems such as school, work and church. Times were stressful and uncertain.

When the epidemic ends, victims of domestic violence and their children will continue to need help.

The pandemic makes the plight of the victims worse

according to Centers for Disease Control and PreventionOne in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. The women stay with the attackers because they have nowhere else to go. In the best of times, women who experience domestic violence face an increased likelihood of unemployment or underemployment. Struggling to find safe and affordable housing They face greater eviction risks.

Where Women make up two-thirds of the lowest-paid workers in the United StatesThose who seek to leave the abuser have little chance of getting out.

The COVID-19 recession has put more women in this dangerous and precarious position. They make up the majority of childcare workers, fast food, cleaning services, hair and nail salons. Women in these jobs have always struggled to pay their bills and support their families, but due to COVID-19, their jobs are completely disappearing.

Housing authorities and landlords often follow “zero tolerance” policies for crime – so when a victim of domestic violence calls 911 to seek help, they risk eviction. Since eviction records can render people ineligible for public housing, this leaves fewer options for escaping abusive relationships, and the cycle of violence and trauma continues for women and their children.

exist Federal and state protections against expulsion of victims of domestic violenceHowever, few victims are able to secure their housing rights.

Help for the future

The economic problems associated with domestic violence are not easily or quickly resolved. A pandemic may mean that fewer women will be able to leave their abusers behind.

In the coming years, these victims and their families will need substantial financial, legal and housing support.

at March, Congress approved a US $ 1.9 trillion stimulus billWhich included $ 24 billion to help stabilize the childcare industry, and $ 15 billion to support childcare and $ 450 million for domestic violence services. This money will undoubtedly help some victims leave their abusers.

lately , The US House of Representatives passed Act 1620, Which is a re-delegation of the Violence Against Women Act that provides resources and legal protection for a woman Suffering from domestic violence. HR 1620 is currently under consideration in the Senate.

Among other provisions, HR 1620 bans firearms purchased by individuals convicted of domestic violence or stalking.

Firearms are used in 3.4% of intimate partner violence incidents-the meaning More than 4.5 million women They will be threatened or abused with domestic violence by using firearms in their lifetime. When guns are used during domestic violence incidents, the offense is It is likely to be fatal Than if the aggressor used another form of force.

System change

Meanwhile, highly publicized incidents of police violence have led to widespread calls for re-identification What do the police do and how do they do it.

Amid the increase in requests for assistance by victims of domestic violence, “reimagining police work” could include discussions about how police and victim service agencies can better use data to support coordinated community responses to domestic violence.

For example, the police often hold false beliefs about domestic violence. Studies show that many officers believe Answering domestic violence calls is extraordinarily dangerous In reality, our research shows that officers are more likely to be assaulted or injured when responding to non-domestic incidents.

Law enforcement agencies may consider providing police with more training on domestic violence incidents, prohibitions on evacuation of victims and trauma-informed interviewing techniques.

While victim service agencies are important to the so-called Safety planning—Where abuse survivors brainstorm with advocates on how to stay safe in a future crisis—Police remain the main responders to crisis intervention And welfare checks.

While a lot of attention has rightly focused on the increase in requests for assistance Domestic Violence During the peak of COVID-19, it was pandemic He also highlighted longstanding limitations in responding to victims when they seek help. The problem isn’t new – it’s just getting bigger.

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