COVID-19: Rapid increase in domestic violence

COVID-19: Rapid increase in domestic violence

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Rise in domestic violence in times of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic and the need for isolation lead to an increase in domestic violence, according to a recent study from the United States. Key figures from other countries had previously shown a comparable increase. The difficult situation in many households must therefore be taken into account urgently when considering further steps.

Based on the analysis of crime statistics in two American cities, the research team led by P. Jeffrey Brantingham from the University of California (UCLA) found that measures to limit contact are associated with an increase in domestic violence. The results of the data analysis were published in the English-language journal "Journal of Criminal Justice".

What data was analyzed?

For their investigation, the researchers evaluated inquiries received from the police about domestic violence assistance before and during the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, crime statistics in the two cities were analyzed.

Significant increase in calls for help

In both cities (Los Angeles and Indianapolis) there was a statistically significant increase in calls for help due to domestic violence, which occurred after the so-called stay at home rules came into force. The researchers assume that the number of requests for help from the police will remain high as long as the rules are in force.

Reports of domestic violence increased

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, calls to police to report domestic violence to both Los Angeles and Indianapolis have increased significantly and we know that domestic violence is one of the least reported crimes to the police." , study author Professor Jeffrey Brantingham of the University of California reports in a press release.

Increase in other crimes?

In comparison, the number of robberies reported in Los Angeles has decreased significantly, while it has remained relatively constant in Indianapolis. The slump is significant in Los Angeles and has decreased slightly in Indianapolis. The number of vehicle thefts was moderately higher in Los Angeles, but unchanged in Indianapolis. The number of traffic controls dropped significantly in both cities, the researchers reported.

The amount of crimes remained roughly the same

"Overall, these shifts are perhaps less significant than would be expected given the scale of COVID-19 disruption to social and economic life," added Professor Brantingham. The total number of crimes committed was roughly on the same level as before the crisis. The crime pattern could provide valuable insight into whether individuals and communities adhere to public health policies.

If crime patterns remain stable overall despite the measures, it could indicate that more resources need to be spent on rule enforcement, reports Professor Brantingham.

Will domestic violence continue to increase?

After evaluating police crime data, researchers predict that the incidence of domestic violence will gradually decrease as people return to their normal routine. However, domestic violence is likely to increase again if there is a second wave of COVID-19 that requires new measures. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • George Mohler, Andrea L. Bertozzi, Jeremy Carter, Martin B. Short, Daniel Sledge et al .: Impact of social distancing during COVID-19 pandemic on crime in Los Angeles and Indianapolis, in Journal of Criminal Justice (Published volume 68, May -June 2020), Journal of Criminal Justice
  • Study of 2 cities shows domestic violence reports on the rise as COVID-19 keeps people home, University of California (Published May 27, 2020), UCLA

Video: How domestic violence survivors can get support during coronavirus shelter-in-place measures (October 2022).