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How COVID-19 May Increase Domestic Violence

How COVID-19 May Increase Domestic Violence

COVID-19 has changed the world as we know it for most Americans. For many Californians, the changes were sudden and unexpected. It felt as if, almost overnight, all schools, many workplaces and daycares, and even more businesses were forced to close their doors in order to protect public safety and help to prevent the spread of the virus. That created a landslide of economic, financial, and personal side effects and consequences for society. 

The Effects of Stay-At-Home Orders

Stay-at-home orders are tolerable for a day or a weekend. It’s when they continue on for more than a month with great uncertainty about how much time remains on these orders that real problems arise. The problems people are facing while they are in their homes with no escapes or outlets include:

  • Rampant unemployment. ABC 7 reports that 19 percent of California workers have applied for unemployment benefits since the onset of COVID-19.
  • Financial worries. People are out of work, business owners are worried about their businesses, and many are worried about whether their jobs will be there when the crisis ends.
  • Stress. People are worried about illness, worried about loved ones, worried about paying bills, and even worried about shortages of critical things like food, medicine, and toilet paper. These are stressful times.
  • Isolation. People feel like they are cut off from the world when they need those touchstones in their lives most. People are social animals and need to interact with others for the sake of their mental health.
  • Unoccupied children. Children who can’t go out and play with their friends become difficult and can try parental patience.

All of these stressors contribute to people reaching their boiling points much more quickly, and to do things they may not do in any ordinary circumstances —such as resorting to domestic violence and abuse of those they love.

Domestic Violence Reports Rising Across the Country

Nationwide, there has been a marked increase in domestic violence reports throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. According to NBC, many law enforcement agencies across the country reported sharp rises in domestic violence reports, some by as much as 35 percent in some areas during the month of March when stay-at-home orders first began. Financial stress and isolation are identified as primary triggers at times like this.

Decline in Domestic Violence Reports in California – And Why it’s Alarming

While domestic violence reports are rising nationwide, they are falling in California. Since all boiling point triggers are present, there is cause for concern that victims may be unable to get the help they need by alerting authorities, or to escape the violence while in close quarters with abusers. 

LAPD Chief Michel Moore is reporting 10 fewer domestic violence reports per day than normal at a time when these reports should be on the rise. In fact, ABC News reports that total domestic violence calls in LA declined 18 percent between March 19 and April 15 when compared to 2019 numbers during that same period. This leads law enforcement to believe that domestic violence victims are unable to be alone for enough time to make a call for help.

How California is Addressing the Issue

Los Angeles District Attorneys have launched the “Behind Closed Doors” campaign in an effort to protect women, children, and the elderly from abuse during these trying times of the coronavirus outbreak. 

The campaign intends to raise awareness about the potential for domestic abuse during these times when everyone is ordered to remain at home and encourage the community to call 911 if they believe their friends or neighbors are in trouble. As the pandemic continues, other cities throughout the state may follow suit with similar campaigns.

Premier Criminal Defense Is Here to Help

What should you do if you’ve been accused of domestic violence? Everyone deserves a fair defense against domestic violence claims. If you or a family member has been charged or wrongfully accused of domestic violence, contact Premier Criminal Defense for a free consultation at 619-439-0306.