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Family violence during the Covid-19 pandemic

Increasing risk of family violence during the Covid-19 pandemic

With shelter in-place measures and widespread organizational closures related to Covid-19 likely to continue for an extended period of time, stress and associated risk factors for family violence such as unemployment, reduced income, limited resources, and limited social support are likely to be further compounded. Additionally, alcohol abuse, a commonly reported risk factor for family violence, has been linked to an accumulation of stressful events and a lack of social support (both likely occurring as a result of Covid-19) [1]. With bars and restaurants being limited to take-out service only in many communities, family violence perpetrators who abuse alcohol may be even more likely to do so in the home, likely increasing risk for the entire household.

An increasing risk of domestic violence-related homicide is also a growing concern – reports continue to surface around the globe of intimate partner homicides with ties to stress or other factors related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Reports of increasing gun and ammunition sales in the U.S. during the crisis are particularly concerning given the clear link between firearm access and fatal domestic violence incidents [2]. Communities considering the mass release of prisoners to reduce their risk of spreading Covid-19 in confinement must weigh the potentially significant risk for victims and households if domestic violence or other violent offenders are among those released. This risk is likely to extend outside of the home as well, as 20% of victims in domestic violence-related homicides are not the intimate partner but rather...

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