DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND THE PANDEMIC
• October 2020 •
Domestic violence was an epidemic before COVID-19, and the health crisis increased incidents of abuse in Los Angeles County – and around the world. “Safer at home” is not always true for victims of abuse. In 2020, stay-at-home orders, school closures, job loss, and escalating family stress have combined to create explosive emotional unrest. Domestic violence calls to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department are up more than 8% and DV hotline calls in California doubled over 2019. It’s important to note that in some U.S. cities, DV calls have dropped as victims have fewer opportunities to make unobserved calls for help.
Both adults and children are at risk. Educators account for about 20% of calls to child protective services nationwide, but teachers, guidance counselors and daycare providers are no longer in a position to witness and report suspected abuse.
As we mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, we remember that DV is a pattern of power and control where one person takes personal stress, anxiety, and insecurities out on the people they live with — often the people they say they love.
As lockdown restrictions are lifted, the abuse will not end. This remains a critical time for survivors, and greater awareness, education, and bystander intervention are needed. This October, join L.A. CADA in activating bystanders and sharing information that can help those who are experiencing violence during this unprecedented time. Know that:
- Abusers often weaponize isolation
- Only 50% of victims of domestic crimes call the police after an assault by a family member during normal times
- In lockdown situations, victims don’t have the freedom to call a hotline without being overheard by their assailant
- Survivors conduct a cost-benefit analysis in their minds. Sometimes tolerating abuse is safer when the alternative is moving into a shelter where victims and their children may be exposed to the coronavirus, or when the victim has no means of self-support
- Women stay because they’re afraid to leave, and they leave when they’re afraid to stay
- A. CADA provides help for victims: call (562) 906-2676 (Santa Fe Springs) or (213) 626-6411 (Downtown Los Angeles).
Find out: Practical Ways to Help Victims of Abuse