Intimate Partner Violence during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review of the Phenomenon from Victims' and Help Professionals' Perspectives

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jun 8;18(12):6204. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18126204.


Social isolation is considered one of the main risk factors leading to intimate partner violence episodes; this evidence also emerged during the application of stay-at-home policies to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. For this reason, we aimed to collect data on intimate partner violence over the last year, comparing data reported by victims with data collected by help professionals. In accordance with PRISMA guidelines, through keywords related to abuse, pandemic and containment measures, 3174 articles were identified for screening. After full-text reading and risk of bias analysis, 19 studies were included, and a thematic synthesis was conducted according to two categories: "studies with victims" and "studies with help professionals". The results of the present review showed that there were significant differences between the data provided by victims and the data collected by health care facilities and police departments; additionally, differences among different forms and severity of victimization emerged. The results have been discussed according to the literature; in particular, we reflected on how containment measures have apparently made it more difficult for victims to report, thus making the existence of the dark figure of crime even more salient.

Keywords: aggressive behavior; coronavirus; forced cohabitation; helping professions; lockdown; psychological violence; stay at home; thematic synthesis; victimization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Crime Victims*
  • Humans
  • Intimate Partner Violence*
  • Pandemics
  • SARS-CoV-2