Articles Posted in Covid

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school-closures-domestic-violence-240x300As 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

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2020-Los-Angeles-domestic-violence-1-300x200If there’s one standout news story regarding domestic violence in 2020, it’s the one that has been the most often repeated: the coronavirus pandemic has caused a significant spike in domestic violence cases across the globe. City after city and nation after nation began reporting increases in domestic violence calls starting shortly after quarantines began—along with increased cases of sexual abuse and child abuse. The massive effort to keep people safe from the virus with stay-at-home orders has had the unwanted effect of isolating victims in close quarters with their abusers.

Keeping this new uncomfortable reality in context, every tragic story of domestic violence typically contains a lesson—one that may ultimately help keep other couples from experiencing the same thing. Let’s take a look at some of the most noteworthy news stories about domestic violence over the past year to see what we can learn from them.

An Awakening at Death’s Door

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Los-Angeles-domestic-violence-defense-June-2020-1-300x200During the weeks and months of quarantine across the country as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the sometimes-startling upticks in domestic violence cases have been well-documented across the country. A few weeks ago, we posted a blog discussing the rise in DV cases and exploring the various contributing factors (including increased stress, unemployment, close proximity, etc.). Even as life and work resume for many of us (including here in California), the recent spikes in COVID-19 may eventually spark more lockdowns—and possibly additional hotbed situations where increased domestic violence may occur.

Now that we’re several months into this pandemic, let’s take another snapshot of this issue by looking at some of the more recent news stories regarding domestic violence and coronavirus.

Possible Increase in Unreported Domestic Violence Cases in L.A.

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domestic-violence-teletherapy-300x200Among the many things that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced to change is how domestic violence perpetrators and victims receive the help they both need. Psychotherapy and counseling are typically recommended for those who have been traumatized by violence at home. Here in California, those who are convicted of domestic violence are required to complete 52 weeks of counseling as part of their sentencing.

But stay-at-home orders have thrown a wrench into the works, so to speak. Not only has the quarantine prompted a surge in the number of domestic violence cases, but it has also created an obstacle when it comes to seeking the mental health counseling those affected by DV so desperately need.

Here’s the good news: Thanks to modern technology, many mental health professionals are now conducting sessions online through “teletherapy.” You can schedule a video chat with a therapist and attend your session online, and these sessions are now covered by most insurance plans. That being said, teletherapy has a different dynamic than in-person sessions, so it helps to be prepared for these differences. Let’s explore the topic of teletherapy when it comes to domestic violence cases, and what you need to know.

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domestic-abuse-los-angeles-300x200With the ongoing threat of COVID-19 dominating the news cycles these days, an important related news story has been inadvertently buried amid the headlines. Some have tried to accentuate the positive behind stay-at-home orders as an opportunity to spend more time with family and loved ones, but for many households dealing with various degrees of dysfunction, quarantine has made a bad situation much worse—marked by a notable spike in the number of domestic violence incidents.

As reported by NPR, the U.N. warned that they were aware of “a horrifying surge in domestic violence” in the weeks following lockdowns around the globe. South Africa reported 90,000 incidents of violence against women in the first week following their quarantine orders. Reports out of Turkey indicate murder rates against women have increased significantly since their stay-at-home orders were issued in early March. Many countries have reported double the volume of calls to their domestic abuse hotlines. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here in the U.S., the numbers seem to confirm this trend as overall reports of DV are on the rise here, as well. NBC News reports at least 18 law enforcement agencies out of 22 contacted have reported significant increases in domestic violence calls—ranging between 18-35 percent higher from city to city.

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