For people who are experiencing domestic violence, mandatory lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 have trapped them in their homes with their abusers, isolated from the people and the resources that could help them.
Financial and safety concerns amplify domestic violence amid COVID-19 pandemicShow moreShow less
Social factors that put people more at risk for violence are reduced access to resources, increased stress due to job loss or strained finances, and disconnection from social support systems.
Data released by the hotline on March 25 shows that roughly 6 percent of the 951 callers who mentioned the COVID-19 crisis between March 10 and March 25 also said that they had been threatened or harmed with a gun. Callers who mentioned COVID-19 were more likely to mention guns than callers who did not.
Research shows that an abuser with access to a gun is five times more likely to kill his victim than one without. Even when abusers do not shoot or kill their victims, Ray-Jones said, they often use the threat of gun violence to rape, terrorize, or to hold them hostage. Ray-Jones said reports that many people buying guns now are first-time gun owners with no training or experience are also troubling, since novice owners are more likely to store a gun unsafely or fire one accidentally.
“Surging gun sales and shelter-in-place orders are leaving domestic violence victims trapped with their abusers, who, in America, have easy access to guns, and that is a deadly combination,” said Shannon Watts, founder of the gun safety group Moms Demand Action, in an interview.
[P1] Surge in firearms could increase the numbers of domestic violence cases.