A Recorded Increase In Domestic Violence
As the Coronavirus death toll surpasses 100,000 in the United States, various states like Washington, Oregon, and New York are continuing to implement and enforce cautionary measures, most commonly of which are stay-at-home orders. Maintaining lockdown has forced victims of abuse to remain in close proximity to their abusers at all times of the day, costing them their support systems, resources, and the usual work hours that provided them with some hours of comfort. The Covid-19 lockdown has made it clear that there is a crucial need for government efforts, which are essential to combating domestic and gender-based violence during this pandemic and after.
Increase Has Been Recorded In the U.S.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, on average, the United States reports show around 10 million victims of domestic abuse annually and around 20,000 calls a day to domestic violence hotlines. Almost all countries have seen an increase in domestic violence numbers since the start of the pandemic. In the United States, there has been an increase in calls made to domestic violence centers, the number of cases reported, and the number of domestic violence cases recorded in hospitals. In New York alone, one of the hardest-hit states by Corona, calls to the domestic violence hotlines increased by 18% at the beginning of pandemic and 30% in April compared to last year.
What Has Been Done So Far?
As a result of this rise, there have been small scale measures taken by state governments. Such measures included those taken by Chicago city, which partnered up with Airbnb to provide shelter for victims fleeing domestic violence in late April. In addition, New York Governor Cuomo will be presented with recommendations made by a task force led by the governor’s secretary, Melissa DeRosa, and the New York State Council on Women and Girls. Lastly, California’s governor has increased funding for domestic violence resources.
What Needs To Happen?
Despite these state-level efforts, the need for true support for victims of domestic abuse is vast. Pressure must be put on the national government to help states deal with this spike on a massive level. The current administration must acknowledge this increase as a significant issue resulting from the Coronavirus and show a deep understanding of Americans’ needs. This support could include but is not limited to increased NDVH funding, increasing Covid-19 testing in domestic violence shelters, and investing in the development of new support systems compatible with current Covid-19 restrictions. Those plans must be made easily accessible and wide-spread. The UN has noted that with 6 months of Coronavirus lockdown, there could be 31 million more cases of domestic abuse. The federal government must take action.
Nonetheless, there are some resources available if you or your loved ones are struggling with domestic abuse. You can find this information on the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website. Although the world seems a bit dark right now, there is hope, and I encourage you to continue fighting for yourself and others. Please reach out to these designated resources and online support to take care of yourself or your family. We stand with you.