[ Update: France has seen a 30% spike in IPV since quarantine began. More below the original post. ]
Many people have predicted that isolation, claustrophobia and other things related to quarantine could lead to a rise in Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).
In northern Canada, Alaska and other regions with long winters, IPV is higher than in warmer climates. Both during and after the wildfires in Australia, there was a spike reports of IPV.
Governments act blindly, if at all, to violence where the perpetrator is usually male and the victims women and children. Victims need escape from IPV, not “counseling”, yet during a crisis of mass quarantine, governments are likely to make this a lower priority than they usually do.
Professionals have warned that IP will happen more often during quarantine. I suspect that in some cases there will be no prior instances of IPV, making it hard to predict who will be the perpetrator. Sadly, there are reports that it has already started.
During this time, as family are sequestered inside their homes, there is a dark side.
Domestic violence shelters are seeing a dramatic increase in calls for help as people shelter in place to avoid COVID-19 exposure.
Staying at home can be a horrible situation for domestic violence victims.
Some shelters have run out of room and are looking to put victims in hotel rooms and other places, because of social distancing rules.
“What has also happened is because some shelters don’t have private bedrooms, they are having to isolate people and spread them apart, which has reduced how many people they can take in,” said [Paige Flink, The Family Place CEO].
Flink says they are getting extremely violent calls that are COVID-19 related.
“People being locked in rooms, being shot through the doors, prevented from leaving, having to stay because he’s afraid she will go out and get it. Crazy stuff,” said Flink.
Governments need to be flexible and treat this as a serious issue. People need to be able to take short walks and have time alone, even if it’s just outside the front door or walking the hallways of apartment buildings. Confined prison spaces can be mentally wearing, and so can being trapped in your home – especially if there’s an abuser in it.
As mentioned above, IPV is running rampant in France. Imagine what it’s like when you combine sudden unemployment, poverty and total abandonment by a government as in the US. Many US governors are saying “abortion will be banned as non-essential surgery”. No doubt there won’t be exceptions when males rape their partners.
France’s interior minister says that reports of domestic violence across the country have jumped by more than 30% since the country went into lockdown on March 17th.
Christophe Castaner revealed on Thursday that in Paris alone, cases were up by 36%.
France’s anti-coronavirus lockdown has forced people to stay home for the last 11 days. The lockdown has now been extended until April 15.
Being confined at home with abusive partners is thought to have increased the risk to victims.
France already has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Europe. Every year, an estimated 219,000 women, aged 18 to 75, face physical or sexual violence by current or former partners, but only 20% report it. According to official figures, one woman is killed by a partner or former partner every three days.