When COVID-19 hit America in early 2020, lives were turned upside down. Suddenly, there was no leaving the house, no going to school or work, and not even going to the local park in some areas. While that experience was trying for every resident, it was even more difficult for victims of domestic violence who used those outings as a respite from their abusive households. In the San Francisco Bay Area, law enforcement officials saw a noticeable uptick in domestic violence reports after the initial lockdown.
What is Domestic Violence?
Domestic violence is a pattern of intimidating behaviors that involves physical abuse or threat of physical abuse, psychological abuse, assault, gradual social seclusion, or financial oppression. It can also be experienced by men or women, adults, or children, whether you are in a current or former relationship or cohabitating with the abuser.
Before the pandemic, domestic violence rates in San Francisco had actually begun to decrease. But when the shelter-in-place took effect, the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office and the Richmond police department reported that instances of domestic violence had increased 12% between March 15 and May 11. According to the United Nations Population Fund, there was about a 20% increase worldwide because of the mandatory quarantines and lockdowns.
Why are Domestic Violence Rates Increasing?
The reality is the pandemic has created increasing pressure – both social and financial. Families are worried about how to pay their bills or keep a roof over their heads, how to protect their children from the virus, and how to operate with some level of normalcy, so they don't go stir-crazy. For individuals who feel like they always need to control a situation, the pandemic may have exacerbated that, causing them to commit some act of domestic violence against their loved ones. And for individuals who were abusive pre-pandemic, the lack of control, space, or purpose to their day may make their fuse even shorter.
This increase in domestic violence cases has many San Francisco Bay Area citizens asking law enforcement officials what can be done for the victims. The San Francisco District Attorney has recently unveiled emergency housing and transportation plans for victims, but many believe this isn't enough. Advocates are calling for an increased focus on options for victims to help them find safe housing and fulfilling basic needs like food and clothing.
Our San Francisco Bay Area attorneys are ready to hear your story. Give Amin Law, P.C. a call at 415-851-4300 to set up a consultation.