Covid-19, lockdown, and intimate partner violence: Some data from an italian service and suggestions for future approaches

Giussy Barbara, Federica Facchin, Laila Micci, Mitia Rendiniello, Paolo Giulini, Cristina Cattaneo, Paolo Vercellini, Alessandra Kustermann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Intimate partner violence (IPV)-defined as physical, psychological, sexual, and/or economic violence typically experienced by women at home and perpetrated by their partners or expartners-is a pervasive form of violence that destroys women's feelings of love, trust, and self-esteem, with important negative consequences on physical and psychological health. Many reports from several countries have underlined a remarkable increase in the cases of IPV during the COVID-19 emergency. In this opinion article, we discussed the hypothesis that such an increase may be related to the restrictive measures enacted to contain the pandemic, including women's forced cohabitation with the abusive partner, as well as the exacerbation of partners' pre-existing psychological disorders during the lockdown. In addition, we retrospectively analyzed some data derived from our practice in a public Italian referral center for sexual and domestic violence (Service for Sexual and Domestic Violence [SVSeD]). These data interestingly revealed an opposite trend, that is, a decrease in the number of women who sought assistance since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak. Such a reduction should be interpreted as a negative consequence of the pandemic-related restrictive measures. Although necessary, these measures reduced women's possibilities of seeking help from antiviolence centers and/or emergency services. Owing to the COVID-19 outbreak, there is an urgent need for developing and implementing alternative treatment options for IPV victims (such as online and phone counseling and telemedicine), as well as training programs for health care professionals, especially those employed in emergency departments, to facilitate early detection of IPV.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1239-1242
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Women's Health
Volume29
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2020

Keywords

  • COVID-19
  • Domestic violence
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Lockdown

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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