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October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

On average, around 20 people (both men and women) are physically abused by a significant other or intimate partner in the United States every minute, which averages over 10 million per year. New research is showing there could be as much as a 20% increase in domestic violence throughout the world due to COVID-19 restrictions. This is because abuse is about power and control, and with COVID-19 restrictions, a survivor is forced to be in close proximity to their abuser more often which could increase risk of violence. There are various ways in which an abuser might use COVID-19 to their advantage:

  • An abusive partner may withhold necessary items like hand sanitizers, disinfectants or soaps.
  • Abusive partners might tell you misinformation about the pandemic to control, frighten or prevent them from seeking out medical attention if they experience symptoms.
  • Abusive partners might withhold insurance cards, or threaten to cancel insurance.
  • Survivors may fear entering shelters due to fear of being in close quarters with groups of people, and programs that serve survivors may be significantly impacted making it difficult for survivors to seek help.
  • An abusive partner may feel more justified and escalate their isolation tactics. 


There are a few key factors that might play a key part into this increase in intimate partner violence we’re beginning to see.

  • Isolation. Whether you’re working from home, schooling from home, unemployed without the option to visit friends or family and even some public areas still off-limits. Research shows social isolation is one of the most common tactics used by abusers to control and manipulate their partners.  
  • Stress. Another factor located on the power and control wheel is stress. Naturally, crises and natural disasters create a stress response that is often correlated with increases in intimate partner violence. One study examined the impact of Hurricane Harvey and rates of intimate partner violence and found that stress was associated with higher rates of intimate partner violence. 
  • Economic Anxiety or Job Loss. Research shows economic worry, job loss or unemployment makes intimate partner violence more likely and more severe. Research done looking at the 2008 recession found that increased unemployment rates correlated with a larger number of domestic violence reports. Studies show the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in job loss and economic distress to levels that are comparable to the Great Depression, which could be why we’re seeing such a large increase in domestic violence. 


If you or someone you know has or is experiencing domestic violence please see the following resources below:


October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, stay tuned for more blogs dedicated to this topic.