Domestic violence (DV) and intimate partner violence (IPV) are deeply ingrained issues in our society that affect millions of people every year. On average, there are 20,000+ calls to domestic abuse helplines nationwide on a daily basis*. Adults aren’t the only victims of these assaults. 1 in 15 children is exposed to intimate partner violence annually**.
With the pandemic in full swing, and mandatory quarantines going into effect in 2020 and now 2021, experts have seen a rise in domestic abuse and IPV. In March, when the first stay-at-home orders were put into place, victims of IPV and DV were forced to stay at home with their abusers. While we’ve all been facing our own struggles these past 10 months, victims of abuse have been living in a state of perpetual fear and unsafety. Not only have they been facing the stress of potentially catching a fatal virus, but they have also been dealing with daily abuse from partners, family members, or other close relationships that they share a home with.
What is Considered Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse and IPV, while similar, are two different things. Intimate partner violence is violence at the hands of a romantic partner/ significant other. Domestic violence has a broader definition. DV can be at the hands of anyone in the household – family members, partners, friends, even children.
Domestic abuse can take many forms. It can be physical, mental, emotional, or sexual. It can include sexual assault, stalking, threats, verbal abuse, physical violence, and more.
How is the Pandemic Worsening Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse affects communities for a myriad of reasons. It commonly affects lower-income communities the most. Lower-income communities experience more everyday stressors than those who have financial security, especially during the pandemic.
Many low-income parents are essential workers. They are exposed to the virus at a higher rate due to their jobs, and being essential means that they can’t be home to care for their children who are now out of school due to Covid-19. Lack of childcare and financial instability can add tension to an already overwhelmed household.
In many cases, victims of IVP depend on their abuser for income and living arrangements. Abusers often make it difficult for their partners to hold a job or have any independent source of income. This is so they can keep their partner dependent and thus trapped in the abusive situation. It is a power play. For victims who are not allowed to have a job, and thus are stuck at home all day caring for the house and children, they are also vulnerable to more frequent attacks from a partner and violence becomes more frequent. Because they do not have their own income, they are unable to afford to leave the dangerous situation.
At home, learning is stressful for parents and children alike. Now that kids are forced to get an education from home, discrepancies in opportunities have become more visible. Many lower-income families do not have a stable internet connection and many don’t have internet at all. It’s not uncommon for lower-income families to not even own a computer for their children to use. With public libraries closed and schools closed, this creates a disadvantage for those children.
The stressors from lack of childcare and the difficulty of virtual & remote education have led to an increase in domestic child abuse.
How To Get Help
If you or a loved one is trapped in a home where domestic abuse is occurring, you need to reach out to local shelters and helplines. Setting up a safety plan during quarantine is key for escaping the dangers of your home situation. It’s hard to take steps towards leaving abusive partners because we often love them very much. But abuse is never acceptable no matter how much you love your abuser and no one ever deserves to be abused no matter what your abuser tells you.
If you live in San Jose or Santa Clara and want to take legal action, set up a free consultation with our domestic violence attorneys. We are discreet and compassionate. Our attorneys can help you set up a restraining order or can help you gain custody of your children if they are experiencing violence from someone in your household. You can contact us here to set up a consultation or to learn more about domestic abuse, read this.