The COVID-19 pandemic and strategies to prevent its spread, such as self-quarantine and travel restrictions, have isolated families and intensified conditions that place people at greater risk for domestic violence. Reports of domestic violence are increasing around the world.
Domestic violence is harm inflicted by a romantic partner in the form of psychological, physical and sexual abuse, stalking, and economic and spiritual abuse. This violence disproportionately affects women and girls around the world. In the United States, 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men experience domestic violence during their lifetime.
Victims usually turn to informal support resources like family and friends first to share their experiences and get support. Members in victims’ social networks are in a position to help in ways that social service and health care providers may not be. In fact, women seek formal support resources, like social services and police, far less frequently than they reach out to family and friends. Ethnic minority and immigrant women seek formal support resources even less than white women.
Family and friends, therefore, can have a powerful impact. Victims who receive support from people they are closest to experience less future violence, injury, suicide, depression and other negative health outcomes. Engaging and supporting family and friends in the prevention of domestic violence has never been more important. The COVID-19 global pandemic has revealed the boundaries of our current social services in reaching women in need.Original Source