COVID-19: Quarantine Measures and Their Impact on Domestic Violence

With quarantine measures being in place in a lot of countries around the world, many find themselves spending more time at home. However, home might not always be a safe place. Evidence from different countries shows that violence in close relationships increases when people live in isolation, women and children being most at risk. The pandemic leaves victims of domestic violence with limited access to support and information. The risk of infection may be used as an excuse to cut off women’s contacts with family and friends. If you can’t leave the house, how can you get help and the protection you need?

On 14 May 2020, Swedish Ambassador Annika Markovic and Canadian Ambassador Lisa Helfand hosted the very timely webinar “COVID-19: Quarantine measures and their impact on domestic violence”.

Moderated by Reintje van Haeringen (CARE Nederland), the experts Ola Florin (Ministry of Employment Sweden), Dillon Black (Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women) and Renée Römkens (University of Amsterdam) discussed Canadian, Swedish and Dutch measures to

  • Highlight risks such as substance abuse, mental health issues and financial stress

  • Develop tools to report abuse and assure access to protection facilities and shelters

  • Respond to social isolation needs and to reach out to “locked in” victims of domestic violence

Concrete measures discussed include installed alarm codes, new chat services, reinforcement of helplines, awareness raising campaigns, radio commercials, specific isolation centres and additional funding.

Among many things, the audience will take away the importance for governments to be aware of the problematic, the need to work across different agencies and stakeholders, all the while being close to communities and victims and the necessity of a greater involvement of boys and men in the discussion.

Did you miss the webinar? No problem. You can watch the recording here.