COVID-19 and its Impact on Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse, also called “domestic violence” or “intimate partner violence”, is typically can be defined as a pattern of behavior in any relationship that is used to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner. 

As we all know, COVID 19 has taken it’s toll on us in various ways. Whether emotionally, physically or mentally, we are all finding different ways to navigate the pandemic to the best of our ability. 

But, what happens when pre-existing issues in our lives take a more serious turn due to the pandemic? According to Statistics Canada, domestic abuse calls to either police or social service agencies have doubled since March 2020.  A part of this is due to the ‘stay at home’ order which often may isolate the victim with their abuser in the home for days, weeks or months. In addition to financial insecurity during the pandemic, it may make it more of a struggle for the victim to leave the situation. Compound that with stigma, cultural expectations, families and children – navigating domestic abuse can be complex and tricky. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, here are some strategies to either cope or assist:

  1. Ensure there is a safety plan in place – in a worst-case scenario, where will this person go if they want to leave the environment? Do they have access to personal forms of ID or government documents? Is there a familial support system in place?
  2. Does the individual have a safe way to connect with others (ie. Cell phone, e-mail, social media) in the event that they need to reach out
  3. Be supportive/don’t be afraid to ask when you need support
  4. When allowed under COVID-19 mandates, try to have the individual involved in group activities or settings so that they are not alone
  5. Be aware of community resources and social services available around you. Consider specific emergency lines, shelters, crisis counselling services and police services

Indus Community Services offers counselling and court support to those impacted by domestic abuse. For more information contact Rashmi Dewan at rdewan@induscs.ca

Be healthy, be well and most importantly, be safe!