As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, isolating at home and social distancing is encouraged to protect our communities. However, home may not be a safe place for many families experiencing domestic violence, which can impact intimate partners and children. Recognizing domestic violence as a social determinant of health CHI is honoring October 2020 as Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM).
Nationally, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men will experience physical intimate partner violence (IPV) in their lifetime. Survivors of domestic violence make more lifetime visits to health care providers and are at an increased risk for many chronic diseases, mental health conditions, and are at greater risk for injuries including death. The impact of COVID-19 on the rates of domestic violence and long-term impacts on victims are still unknown; however, historical data suggests that rates of intimate partner violence increase during pandemics and times of economic crisis. This seems to be holding true with many domestic violence programs reporting an increase in hotline calls, protection order requests, and law enforcement calls for service related to domestic violence.
COVID-19 has caused serious economic devastation, separated many from loved ones, and disconnected people from resources and support. It has also created anxiety, stress, and uncertainty throughout society. These risk factors can often spark domestic violence in families where it wasn’t previously present and fuel frequency and severity of domestic violence in families that have a history of abuse. Prior to COVID-19, a survivor of domestic violence could leave a violent situation, file a protective order, and readily access services. Unfortunately these options aren’t easily available right now and these challenges can force victims to stay in a dangerous situation.
As part of our 2020 DVAM celebration, CHI associates will be wearing purple pins throughout the month of October to honor survivors of domestic violence, leading a social media awareness campaign, displaying information on where to get help for domestic violence, participating in Purple Thursday to bring awareness to domestic violence, and taking every opportunity to talk about safe and healthy relationships with those we serve. In the midst of COVID-19, this DVAM we encourage everyone to do #1Thing to show that domestic violence has no place in our community. Each unique act contributes to creating a collective movement towards a world without violence. Visit our facebook page to share your #1Thing or to learn more about what you can do to prevent domestic violence by visit our website. Everyone deserves to have safe and healthy relationships.
If you need help or would like more information contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a confidential 24/7 hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE or www.thehotline.org.