As COVID-19 anxiety drags on, domestic violence cases expected to spike

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Safety measures taken to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus are likely to have adverse affects on people experiencing domestic violence as self-isolation, quarantine and social distancing increase risk.

The Calgary Domestic Violence Collective (CDVC), which represents almost 60 organizations in the city, said they have already seen evidence of a spike in domestic violence from China and other countries that have been battling the COVID-19 outbreak for weeks longer than Canada.

In China’s Hubei province, for example, the CDVC said police reports show reported cases nearly tripled in February.

Maggie MacKillop, executive director of CDVC partner organization Homefront Calgary, said the COVID-19 health crisis coupled with a crashing stock market and looming global recession creates serious risk factors for families experiencing domestic violence.

“When you have families, even just in general, in close quarters and they are unable to leave for long periods of time, sometimes that can cause increased tension in the best of families. But, when you already have a family that is susceptible to violence or if there are poor coping mechanisms you’re likely to see increased violence in the home,” said MacKillop.

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