Domestic violence against women and the COVID-19 pandemic: What is the role of psychiatry?

Int J Law Psychiatry. Jul-Aug 2020;71:101594. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2020.101594. Epub 2020 Jun 2.


A heightened risk of domestic violence has been associated with infection-reducing measures undertaken by governments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatric services can play a key role in addressing this issue by (a) addressing certain risk factors for perpetration of domestic violence through, for example, assertive identification and management of substance misuse; (b) providing support, advocacy and treatment services for victims of domestic violence; and (c) multi-agency working to strengthen medical and social responses to domestic violence. At a time like this, it is important that multi-disciplinary mental health services are strengthened, rather than depleted, in order to address the pressing issues at hand.

Keywords: COVID-19; Domestic violence; Intimate partner violence; Mental health; Psychiatry.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Battered Women / psychology*
  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology*
  • Domestic Violence / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mental Health Services*
  • Pandemics
  • Physician's Role*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology*
  • SARS-CoV-2