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It is definitely not a happy year with the newly evolved coronavirus joining hands with the age-old scourge of domestic and family violence.
It is ironical that May events include both Mother’s Day and Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month in Queensland, Australia. Mother’s Day is not a happy one for the women who cannot take action to leave an abusive partner for fear of retribution targeting their children.
The poignancy of this situation was even greater this year with the newly evolved coronavirus joining hands with the age-old scourge of domestic and family violence. There is increasing evidence worldwide that domestic and family abuse has become an opportunistic infection, flourishing in the conditions created by the pandemic.
Evidence from past years has shown that domestic violence rates go up whenever there are natural disasters, pandemics or simply families spending more time together during school and other vacations. Many people, usually men, feel powerless in these situations and seek to compensate by exercising dominance over partners and sometimes children as well.
With families in lockdown, huge numbers of unemployed men and even larger numbers of unemployed women, and an escalation of risk factors such as excessive alcohol consumption, the challenges posed by domestic and family violence have become even greater.
Restrictions on movement also impede victims’ access to services and support. Not only are women’s access to formal or state support services restricted, but they may also be isolated from their local, family and community-based support systems. A loss of independent income and school-going children being locked down also increases women’s vulnerability and limits options for escaping abusive situations.
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