Domestic Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review

Trauma Violence Abuse. 2021 Aug 17;15248380211038690. doi: 10.1177/15248380211038690. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Background: COVID-19 outbreak and the followed confinement measures have raised concerns to specialists worldwide regarding the imminent increase in domestic violence cases. The present systematic review aims to identify the international trends in domestic violence during the COVID-19 epidemic and to examine the possible differences among all population groups and different geographic areas worldwide.

Method: The following databases were accessed: DOAJ, ERIC, Google Scholar, ProQuest, Pubmed, PsycNet, and SCOPUS, up to July 22, 2020.

Results: A total of 32 studies were considered eligible. Data from North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific Area, Africa, and worldwide researches were retrieved. COVID-19 has caused an increase in domestic violence cases, especially during the first week of the COVID-19 lockdown in each country. In children, however, although the specialists' estimations suggested an increase in child maltreatment and abuse cases, the rate of police and social services' reports has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic. School closures that isolated students at home seemed to have contributed to this decrease.

Conclusions: Domestic violence has been a considerable issue imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic to a worldwide context. The home confinement led to constant contact between perpetrators and victims, resulting in increased violence and decreased reports. In order to minimize such issues, prevention measures and supporting programs are necessary.

Keywords: COVID-19; child abuse; confinement; domestic violence; intimate partner violence.