Domestic Violence: The Loungeroom Pandemic: How the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted domestic violence numbers

2020 saw many of us shelter in our own homes as COVID-19 spread across the globe, but for many the true danger lurked within the very walls that were supposed to keep them safe. Last year saw domestic violence numbers in Australia reach an all time high.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced many of us into our homes with the closure of businesses and people working from home for the first time, we were suddenly spending day after day with only the company of our partners and families. Some viewed the lockdown as chance to spend time with their families and learn new hobbies but for many, the months spent confined away were anything but enjoyable.

As COVID-19 spread across the world, another pandemic was spreading across houses and apartments in Australia, domestic violence.

A survey conducted by The Australian Institute of Criminology in 2020 found that:

  • 5% of all women and almost 10% of women living with a partner have experienced physical or sexual violence.
  • 22% of women reported experiencing emotional harassment or controlling behaviours in the past year.
  • Two thirds of the women surveyed said that the abuse had occurred for the first time or intensified since the outbreak of COVID-19 (1).

The increasing numbers around domestic violence since the coronavirus outbreak are concerning with Hayley Foster, chief executive of Women’s Safety in New South Wales saying,

“2020 will be remembered as the worst year for domestic violence that any of us who are in the sector now have ever experienced. There [have been] just so many more strangulation cases, so many threats to kill, so many more serious head injuries, and sexual assaults [have been] going through the roof.”

Domestic violence and intimate partner violence (IPV) are often caused by the abusers feeling the need to control their partner. This can stem from several things, including low self-esteem, undiagnosed mental health disorders, anger management issues, feelings of inferiority due to financial or educational background, feelings, which have all been heightened by the coronavirus pandemic. IPV and domestic violence can also be attributed to the abuse of drugs and alcohol (2). 

With 2021 showing no sign of an end to the increasing numbers around domestic violence, steps need to be taken to help put a stop to IPV in Australian homes. White Ribbon Australia has outlined mental health support for both abusers and the abused as well as education surrounding domestic violence as the key strategies to help reduce the numbers.

So what can you do to reduce domestic violence numbers?
Reach out if you are worried about the impact of your actions or the actions of others are having and educate yourself on what abusive behaviour looks like. The key to creating change is to raise awareness, which is the mission of the Momentum For Australia charity. Click here to see the worthy causes you can help support, including the Kiss Violence Against Women Goodbye! campaign and the She For He, Talk To Me campaign. 

Looking for help or know someone who is struggling, reach out, make our homes safer and happier for everyone.

  • 1800 RESPECT, 1800 737 732
  • Mensline, 1300 789 978
  • Lifeline, 13 11 14


1. Global Citizen.

2. Psych Central.

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