Australia sees surge in domestic violence during pandemic

A Friday survey by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), outlined how the Covid-19 pandemic in Australia has made domestic violence more severe and commonplace.

The study was published in the Australian Journal of Social Issues. It found that 62% of workers in the domestic and family violence sector (DFV) reported an increase in demand in the aftermath of the pandemic.

67% of workers also reported that they had been victims to abuse and sought help during the pandemic.

Kerry Carrington, QUT professor of education and socio justice, was the lead author of the study. He said that the results were not surprising.

Carrington stated to Xinhua that they had expected that lockdown conditions would create a storm for anyone in a controlling coercive relationship. There was simply no room.”

An Australian Institute of Criminology government study that surveyed 15,000 women in Australia in May 2020 revealed that 11.6% of them had been victims of domestic abuse.

Two-thirds (63%) of respondents stated that abuse has either begun or escalated since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Carrington explained to Xinhua there were many factors that contributed to the occurrence of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.

“So, the pandemic created the perfect storm of insecurity, financial loss and of course intense conflict within families. The perpetrator was locked them down. Carrington stated that the most shocking aspect of their findings was how domestic violence perpetrators were using the pandemic to their advantage and other restrictions on health.

“Covid gave perpetrators another weapon. They had a way to control their victims even more. An anonymous respondent in Tasmania who was a domestic violence counsellor said that victims’ support networks were often greatly reduced during lockdown.

The respondent stated that perpetrators are more attentive to victims who live with their perpetrators.

According to the study, 86 percent of workers working in the DFV industry reported an increase in complexity in abuse victim’s needs in the period of the pandemic.

Carrington stated that these responses were a stark reminder of the fact that DFV services require greater support in times of crisis. The most important thing is to have more empathy for women in such situations and increase funding for organizations in the DFV sector.