COVID-19 stress leads to spike in domestic violence globally

San Francisco/Paris, March 28 : With more than one-fifth of the world's population now staying home owing to lockdowns and social distancing, there has been a spike in domestic violence cases across the world and law enforcement agencies are flooded with such calls.

In Texas in the US, advocates say they are seeing an increase in domestic violence-related calls, reports KLTV.

Domestic violence survivors are at most risk in such situation as people have been asked not to go out.

"They're at risk right now and that is an increase risk when people are quarantined together in their homes or they're in lock down," Glenna Harkness, Programme Director, Family Crisis Center of East Texas in Lufkin, was quoted as saying.

The calls to the centre's 24-hour hotline have increased by 20 per cent this week, according to Harkness.

"It's not just physical abuse it's emotional, it's psychological and when people are confined in spaces unfortunately it increases during that time," she added.

Nonprofit organisations fear that 'shelter-in-place' policy has made it more difficult for victims to call for support.

Such increase in domestic violence calls are being reported from Brazil to Germany and Italy to China.

For many French women and families suffering from domestic violence, being confined at home has become a living nightmare, reports France24.

Paris-based psychiatrist Marie-France Hirigoyen recently recounted the plight of one woman stuck at home.

"When her husband drinks, the effects are already terrible ? she frequently suffers from psychological and physical violence.

But with the lockdown, that risk has increased. She just called me saying he went out to do some shopping and buy alcohol; she's terrified of when he returns," Hirigoyen was quoted as saying.

France has been in lockdown since March 17.

In an earlier report, Human Rights Watch cited local Chinese media reports on the uptick in domestic abuse.

The report said that the lockdown had triggered a "greater incidence of domestic violence for reasons including increased stress, cramped and difficult living conditions, and breakdowns in community support mechanisms".

Even kids are at risk too.

In Germany, with schools closed, child protection organizations have warned of a potential increase in child abuse.

According to Rainer Rettinger, Chief executive of the German Children's Association, says the situation for some children could become life-threatening.

"In times of the coronavirus crisis, these children are alone with the parents.

No one who sees the parents' misery. No one who sees the child's misery," Rettinger was quoted as saying in a DW report.

With many support groups and youth services practicing social distancing, "child protection agencies are demanding an increase in support on digital platforms, including social media, to keep children and families well-informed of the help that's available".



Source: IANS