As we come upon the one-year mark of the beginning of the COVID pandemic, we can see some disturbing trends among families trying to cope. While quarantines, school closures, and social distancing have been necessary to protect the public at large, social workers and domestic violence advocates have long been warning of another danger lurking within at-risk families living in forced isolation: a significant increase in domestic violence. In other words, our attempts to mitigate the COVID health crisis may be creating a health crisis of a completely different kind—one that is just as harmful and even deadly. As a result, an increased number of people, some of whom have no history of domestic violence, have found themselves arrested and facing charges.
This issue has become such a point of concern that some are referring to it as a “pandemic within the pandemic.” Even with vaccinations underway and hope on the horizon, the pandemic, along with its on-again, off-again lockdowns, have changed our living patterns and created “pressure-cooker” situations for many households with fewer options for releasing the pressure or getting help. Let’s take a closer look at this issue—not just the pandemic itself, but how the safety measures put in place are creating new risks for many households.
Increased Risks from School Closures