In our previous post, we began a discussion about the connection between Covid-19 quarantining and a predicted rise in divorce rates associated with it. Many sociologists and family law attorneys believe (and have started to see) that more unhappy couples are seeking divorce following the end of the nationwide lockdown. A second or third wave of the virus could mean more quarantining and an even greater spike in divorce cases.
Sadly, many people experienced more than just harsh words and arguments during the quarantine this spring. A recent Psychology Today article cites statistics showing an alarming increase in rates of domestic violence.
Over the past 12 months, approximately 243 million women and girls around the world experienced domestic violence and abuse. And there have been definite spikes seen just during the quarantine as well. In France, for instance, there was a 30 percent rise in rates of domestic violence this spring. In Argentina, domestic violence emergency calls went up by 25 percent during the same time period.
There are at least two explanations for the rising rates of domestic violence. The first is that the stress of the pandemic is causing otherwise peaceful disagreements to escalate into violent acts. This could be true in some cases, but most people who abuse an intimate partner or family member do not do so because of a stressful event.
The second – and more likely – explanation is that quarantine provided more opportunities for abusers to abuse their victims and greatly limited victims’ ability to leave. Put another way, quarantine didn’t cause abuse. It simply made it easier.
If you have been a victim (female or male) of domestic violence, please do whatever you can to safely flee the abusive environment now that stay-at-home orders have been lifted and more social service agencies are resuming full-time operations. With second and third waves of Covid-19 potentially on the way, you cannot afford to be quarantined again with someone who is abusive and violent. Resources are available to help. And when you decide you are ready to file a restraining order and to file for divorce, please contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your options for further legal assistance.