Woman sitting up in bed at night

Even during this difficult time, you can still find domestic violence hotlines and resources for reporting child abuse that can help.

In fact, access to these resources is more important now than ever. Domestic abuse is a serious problem that has intensified during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men in the United States have experienced violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Unfortunately, child abuse or neglect is also common. The CDC estimates that at least 1 in 7 children have experienced child abuse or neglect over the course of their lives.

These result in adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), which can have a long-term impact on a child's health and well-being. Witnessing domestic violence and abuse of others are also considered ACEs.

Domestic Violence and the Pandemic

According to the American Psychological Association, the following factors can lead to an increase in domestic violence and abuse:

  • Reduced access to resources
  • Increased stress due to job loss or financial strain
  • Disconnection from social support systems

All of these factors come into play during a pandemic.

While necessary for the slowing the spread of coronavirus, stay-at-home orders are also thought to increase the likelihood for domestic violence and abuse. Stay-at-home orders make it easier for abusers to utilize common non-violent tools of abuse, including:

  • Dictating rules for the victim's behavior
  • Surveilling the victims behavior
  • Withholding access to basic household necessities
  • Isolating the victim from social connections

It also makes it even more difficult for survivors or victims to flee an abusive situation.

Child Abuse and the Pandemic

According to the CDC, the following factors can contribute to an increase in child abuse and neglect:

  • Social isolation
  • Parenting stress
  • Family stress and violence, including domestic violence
  • Negative interactions between parents and children

These are only some of the many causes of child abuse and neglect. Many of these factors have intensified under stay-at-home orders, including isolation from social networks and increased family stress due to financial problems, lack of parental support, difficulties caring for kids at home, and disruptions to daily life.

Similar to domestic violence, stay-at-home orders can also make it even more difficult for victims to flee an abusive situation.

Domestic Violence Help

If you, a loved one or someone you know is at risk, do not let the pandemic stop you from seeking help. You can find a domestic violence shelter in Maryland through the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence. You can also utilize one of the domestic violence hotlines or other resources below.

Emergency Resources

If your life is at risk, call 9-1-1.

UMMS Resources

Maryland Resources

National Resources

Helping Children at Risk in Maryland

If you want to know how to report child abuse, how to prevent child abuse or need parenting help, there are places where you can seek help in Maryland and nationally during the pandemic.