September 01, 2021

Abuse at home

Recognizing the problem, getting help

Quarantines, social isolation, travel restrictions — for much of the world in 2020, these were measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19. But for people experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV), these orders created a dangerous scenario that essentially trapped them at home with their abusers.

Domestic violence incident reports increased by about 8% nationally after the rollout of lockdowns and other COVID-related restrictions — although domestic abuse is not often reported, so actual rates are likely higher. Various police departments around the country saw increases in domestic violence reports ranging from 10% to 22%.

Many experts believe that pandemic measures likely played a role in worsening the existing problem of domestic abuse due to:

  • Financial changes — Money is usually a major consideration for someone who's thinking of leaving an abusive partner. With many people losing jobs, financial hurdles only became more significant.
  • Isolation — Stay-at-home orders and quarantines isolated people from friends and family outside of their homes, removing social support systems and making resources more challenging to access.

Getting help

You may feel confused or ashamed about an abusive situation and ambivalent about leaving or getting help. You may have reacted to abuse verbally or physically in defense or developed unhealthy behaviors, such as excessive drinking. Many survivors do. That doesn't mean the abuse is your fault.

No matter what, seek help. In an emergency, call 911 or your local emergency...