The Impact of COVID-19 on Domestic Abuse
Since March 2020, the world has been turned upside down as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Schools and workplaces closed in an effort to reduce the transmission of the virus and a full year later, many people continue to work or learn from home. And while staying home can significantly help slow the spread of COVID-19, home is not always the safest place for everyone.
Read on to learn more about how COVID-19 has impacted domestic abuse and how The Gatehouse can help.
Increased Stress Often Leads to Increased Abuse
It probably comes as no surprise that the rates of domestic abuse and sexual assault increase during times of high stress. For example, when Hurricane Katrina reached New Orleans in 2005, reports of sexual assault increased by at least 45%.
The past year has been incredibly stressful for a lot of us. A poll by Forbes found that 2020 was the “most stressful year on record” with participants reporting increased feelings of sadness (27%) and anger (24%). There has been a significant increase in the need for sexual assault and domestic violence centers since the beginning of the pandemic—as many as one in three women experience physical or sexual violence at home.
Many individuals turned to drug use as a means of coping with the stress of COVID-19. The CDC reports that at least 13% of adults started using or increased substance use since the pandemic began. Data from ODMAP shows that opioid-related overdoses increased by 18% over the same timeframe in 2019. And while substance use does not always lead to domestic abuse, the two are often closely linked.
How to Access Help From Home
Many victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse rely on outside sources for support, such as their school, workplace, or a friend’s home. However, the shift towards working and learning from home left many victims feeling isolated.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, remember that it is not your fault and you are not alone. Help is available—many shelters and services, including The Gatehouse, are open and here to support you.
If you suspect a friend, loved one, or colleague is being abused, remember that asking for help takes an incredible amount of courage. There are many reasons why someone may not “just leave”. If you want to help but you’re not sure what to say or do, this guide has some great tips.
At The Gatehouse, we provide housing and shelter for victims of domestic abuse, however, that’s not all we do! The Gatehouse Program takes a unique approach to supporting women who are overcoming crises such as domestic abuse or underemployment. We empower women with the resources and support they need to achieve permanent self-sustainability, without the need for government assistance programs. We believe this starts with building a stable income through a full-time career, addressing and resolving debt, and growing an emergency savings fund. It may feel overwhelming trying to do this on your own—which is why we’re here to help.
Visit our website or call 817-912-0317 to learn more about The Gatehouse Program.