As if this year hasn’t already created enough hardships for people all over the world, one of the most unfortunate emerging facts of 2020 is that domestic violence has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic according to UN Women.
Domestic violence (also known as “intimate partner violence” or “DV”) is defined by California law as harming or threatening to harm an intimate partner, although family members can be affected as well. While punishable by law, domestic violence often gets swept under the rug, usually because victims are either too afraid to report it or they believe the authorities won’t take them seriously enough.
Anyone can be affected regardless of their gender, social class, or how they are perceived by their peers. Domestic violence isn’t always necessarily violent either. While DV does often involve physical violence, it can also include mental and emotional abuse as well as financial exploitation—or a combination of multiple different types of abuse at once.
Domestic violence may include forms of abuse such as:
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Verbal abuse
- Financial abuse
- Forced isolation
- Controlling behavior
So, why is domestic violence on the rise? While stay-at-home orders are a necessary measure that can protect people from the novel coronavirus, they can be a nightmare for people who live with an abusive partner. Not having anywhere to go coupled with the increased amount of stress many people are under this year is the perfect recipe for increased instances of DV in both the U.S. and abroad.
Factors that may cause individuals to perpetrate DV may include:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Economic difficulties
- Gun ownership
- Lack of a social support system
- Limited access to education
Looking at the list above, it isn’t difficult to see how DV could be on the rise in 2020. As a result, calls to police and shelters regarding domestic violence have increased significantly and even Google searches for DV are apparently on the rise.
Fortunately, there are ways to get help. Hotlines such as the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Family & Youth Services Bureau are just a phone call or online chat away—as is 911. Local resources such as women’s shelters can help you make a plan to leave an abusive partner. An attorney can help stand up for your rights by pressing charges or filing a restraining order. Family members and friends of someone being abused can offer their support and provide resources, such as a place to stay, financial support, or simply a helpful ear.
If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, please reach out to our Granite Bay firm as soon as possible for assistance. We can help you understand your rights and get help.