In an article published in the International Journal of Mental Health Nursing, experts stress that the COVID-19 pandemic presents the “perfect storm” for family violence, where a set of rare circumstances have combined to aggravate intimate partner violence, domestic abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse.
Factors during the pandemic that have come together to contribute to family violence may include increased stress and trauma, economic hardship, imposed isolation, and decreased access to community and faith-based support.
The authors note that public health officials and mental health professionals need to be aware of the impact of disasters on family violence, and they should strive to identify those at risk and provide much needed support.
“Emergency and disaster situations such as we are seeing with the COVID-19 pandemic are known to increase stress on individuals and families. One unfortunate outcome of that stress is an increase in family violence,” said lead author Kim Usher, RN, PhD, of the University of New England, in Australia. “Nurses are well placed to provide early interventions to reduce stress on families and to assist those for whom family violence is a risk or a reality.”