Intimate partner violence in the time of coronavirus

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Intimate partner violence in the time of coronavirus

Reading time : 5 min

The coronavirus is currently giving us a hard time in Quebec and pretty much everywhere in the world. This is a time of worries and upheavals for everyone. Unfortunately, the current situation accentuates difficulties for victims of intimate partner violence (IPV) and for their children.

Loss of safe spaces

For victims of IPV, going to work, to school, spending time shopping for groceries or at the gym is very important. Outside activities become safe spaces that allow them to catch their breath and get in touch with a reality where they don't have to walk on eggshells and constantly be on alert. Physical distance and being able to meet benevolent and sympathetic people also allows them to receive validation and a positive view of themselves, which contrasts with their partners' attitude. These breaks in their reality provide a mental «shield» that helps victims to keep on going despite the situation of violence. It helps build up resilience. The ongoing confinement reduces (or eliminates entirely) opportunities to access safe spaces, for victims of IPV and their children.

From staying home to forcible confinement

Our governments ask us to stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of covid-19. Unfortunately, abusers may use this as a «reason» to coerce their victims even more, by forcing them to stay inside the house (through threats or guit) and thus keeping them from the few opportunities still available, such as going for a walk, grocery shopping or just going out in the yard. The confinement recommended by authorities can then become a justification for real forcible (and sometimes criminal) confinement for victims of IPV. 

Adding stress to trauma

Victims of IPV (current victims but also those who have been in the past) are exposed to micro-trauma on a daily basis and to greater trauma on an episodic basis. Many of them (and their children) are already suffering from post-traumatic stress, with all that that entails. It will therefore be all the more difficult for them to cope with the stress related to the pandemic, which may result in increased difficulties: anxiety, panic attacks, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, pervasive memories, depression, etc. 

Escalation of violence... when IPV was already present

The current situation creates stress for everyone. But for the majority of us, this stress will not become a pretext for violence. A respectful person will simply become a respectful… stressed person. On the other hand, in relationships where a dynamic of IPV was already present or in the process of being installed, violent partners may exert more violence. In this escalation, there may be new forms of violence, increased intensity (it can become more «striking») or it may be used more frequently. 

Bien que la violence conjugale touche majoritairement des femmes, elle peut aussi toucher les hommes et les personnes issues de la diversité sexuelle et de genre. Les services de SOS violence conjugale sont offerts à toutes les personnes touchées par la problématique.

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How to erase your browsing history?

When you browse the Internet on a computer, tablet or cell phone, your activities are automatically recorded by the browser you are using (explorer, safari, firefox, chrome, etc.). Unfortunately, this means that your partner could track all the sites you have visited, by consulting your browsing history . It is possible to erase the traces of your passage on our website. We advise you to consult this page to learn how to do so. 

In certain situations, it may be preferable to consult our website on a device to which your partner does not have access: at a friend's, at the office, in a public library, etc. Your safety is important.