During the pandemic, what has risen at a rate as sharply as the virus? – Occurrences of domestic violence.
In a recent study from UC Davis, the researcher said “The pandemic, like other kinds of disasters, exacerbates the social and livelihood stresses and circumstances that we know lead to intimate partner violence” and further the “increased social isolation during COVID-19 has created an environment where victims and aggressors in a relationship, cannot easily separate themselves from each other. The extra stress also can cause mental health issues, increasing individuals perceived stress and reactions to stress through violence and other means.”
Is the uptick in acts of violence attributed to domestic abusers who were “predisposed” to be abusive or could the uptick in assaults be attributed to, otherwise peaceful people, being placed under stress from the COVID-19 pressures?
Additional data from the UC Davis study “[does] not suggest causality and there is no way to determine if intimate partner violence was present in those relationships prior to the pandemic. What the data does suggest, however, is that experiencing such violence is related to reporting more exposure to stress.” Researchers found that “as people find themselves in a more tenuous financial situation due to COVID-19, there are more things to worry about and subsequently argue about” which leads to an occasion for intimate partner violence.
One study by two economists at BYU, published in the journal of Public Economics, found disturbing trends. They sampled 14 large cities across the United States. To note, “the data suggested that the pandemic has produced many new offenders; reports coming from city blocks with no previous record of domestic violence were the main drivers of the increase.”
What we see on the ground level
Many people who have been married peacefully for decades have succumbed to the stress inflicted by the COVID lockdowns. People are irritated with each other as there have been no viable outlets. Otherwise good people now are facing Assault charges. People who have no history, or violent tendencies, are now wrapped up in the criminal justice system. 911 calls are often made out of frustration and exhaustion rather than violence or danger. Many people who make the call recognize, after the fact, that it was a mistake.
Is your family impacted?
If you find yourself facing a criminal charge involving partner or family violence, give our office a call. Our experienced attorneys have helped many people throughout the past 18 months walk through this very delicate and embarrassing situation. The lockdowns and stressors have created many challenges for our community, including terrible conflicts for families. We are here to help.