Brian Wallace, Founder & President, NowSourcing
Did you know more than 200 million women and girls are victims of domestic violence in a typical year? During the pandemic, helplines received five times as many calls as previously. Domestic violence cases have especially spiked in the U.S. with Portland, Oregon seeing a 22% increase in arrests related to domestic violence and Jefferson County, Alabama seeing a 27% increase in domestic violence-related calls.
Since 2020, at least 7% of Americans have reported being cyberstalked with one in six people being women and one in seventeen people being men. However, as much as 76% of those who were accused and arrested for misdemeanor stalking were not convicted. In terms of those who have seen the most increase in rates of abuse, marginalized groups have been hit the hardest. These are the same minorities who were the most affected by the pandemic as well.
The increase in abuse has been linked to a few possible causes. One is increased stressors such as uncomfortable living situations, unemployment worries, and security/health concerns. Another is greater opportunity due to being stuck at home and lack of crowded, public spaces to go to due to lockdowns. Fewer safeguards like families having less in-person interactions with mandated reporters, varying reporting procedures between precincts, and limited access to safe screenings caused by the shift to telemedicine also contribute to the rise in domestic abuse.
Less than half of those who receive injury from an intimate partner actually accept medical help while more than half of domestic violence cases don’t get reported. Reasons can include social pressure from victims feeling embarrassed to report cases of domestic violence, psychological effects of abuse making it harder to leave, and the possibility of losing their partner’s support.
The concern of pets getting involved in domestic abuse cases led to nearly 50% of victims staying in abusive situations instead of choosing to leave their pets. In fact, 71% of women in domestic violence shelters had their pets either killed, injured or threatened by the abuser as a means of control. Unfortunately, this means that 52% of survivors had to escape by leaving their pets while 25% decided to return to their abuser because of their pets.
Nonetheless, there are ways for people to help stop domestic violence in their community. One is knowing how to detect early warning signs, like your partner being jealous of you spending more time with others, controlling all your financial decisions, and purposefully causing damage to your property. It is also best to not avoid cases of domestic violence and to call the police if you suspect someone might be in danger.
Being available to help and even listen can also be a great form of support to domestic violence victims. With less than one in ten people contacting a victim service provider for help, being able to share local resources or organizations with those who are experiencing violence can help save them from further harm.
About the Author: Brian Wallace is the Founder and President of NowSourcing, an industry leading infographic design agency in Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH which works with companies ranging from startups to Fortune 500s. Brian runs #LinkedInLocal events, hosts the Next Action Podcast, and has been named a Google Small Business Adviser for 2016-present. Follow Brian Wallace on Linked