At Barrett & Farahany, a cornerstone of our practice is ensuring justice and equality for all people. While we do not handle legal matters connected to domestic violence, we do believe it is important for people to be aware of how the current climate can contribute to or escalate domestic violence and abuse.
Domestic violence and abuse is now known as Intimate Partner Violence and Abuse (IPV/A). IPV/A includes acts of physical violence, but may also include sexual violence, emotional and psychological abuse, and controlling behaviors such as isolating a person, monitoring their movements, and restricting access to financial, healthcare, or other resources. The World Health Organization explains this problem in more detail.
During the quarantines, victims of IPV/A may have been trapped inside their homes, isolated from the rest of society with the very person who is harming them. While anyone can be a victim of IPV/A, the United Nations reports that worldwide 243 million women and girls between the ages of fifteen and 49 suffered from sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner in the last 12 months.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 9 men experience severe violence from a domestic partner in the United States.
An article in Psychology Today notes that social isolation is one of the most common tactics employed by perpetrators of violence against women and girls. Social isolation allows abusers to more easily control their victims, and since we've just experienced multiple months of isolation as a result of COVID-19, it's no surprise that there has been an uptick in reports of IPV/A. Even more concerning is that there may be just as many IPV/A cases that go unreported.
If you are a victim of domestic violence or abuse or know someone else who may be, please call the statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-800-33HAVEN (1-800-334-2836). Calls are answered 24/7 and you do not need to be in the state of Georgia to use the service. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. If you can't call safely, you can log onto www.thehotline.org or send the text message LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474. We have added this information to our COVID-19 resource page.
You are not alone. There are caring people ready to help you.