Pandemic News: Divorce is Down, Domestic Violence is Up
Initially, it was believed that the pandemic would cause divorce rates to spike. This information was provided anecdotally by divorce attorneys who were fielding a larger-than-average amount of inquiries concerning divorce. However, this has not played out in the courts. Perhaps because many courthouses are closed to non-essential hearings, the number of divorce filings is actually down. The same, however, cannot be said of domestic violence. Experts have called the uptick in domestic violence “a pandemic within a pandemic”.
A Trip Down Memory Lane
When the pandemic first began, you had children learning from home, parents forced to pay more for food and other expenses, and parents who were forced to work from home. They say familiarity breeds contempt, but these are ostensibly people who have chosen to have children together and raise a family.
Some studies have shown that rates of domestic violence rapidly increased during the pandemic. However, other studies show that calls to domestic violence hotlines actually decreased during this period. Below, we’ll discuss why.
Domestic Violence Increases With Fewer Reports
There are two ways to interpret the aforementioned data. The first is to say that it’s a myth that domestic violence has increased during the pandemic lockdown. Folks who take this perspective say that domestic violence hotlines and domestic violence advocates all anticipated a massive spike in domestic violence cases that never occurred. But the perception that it would occur led to the perception that it was occurring, despite data to the contrary.
However, advocates for victims point out that just because there are fewer calls to domestic violence hotlines, it doesn’t mean that there is less domestic violence. Instead, they point to the conditions that lead abused spouses to divorce themselves from abusive spouses. One of the most important factors that determine whether or not a spouse will remove themselves from an abusive situation is financial independence.
The pandemic caused major losses of financial stability for the majority of American workers. Many were simply laid off while others had to take massive pay cuts to remain in business. Others, who may not have had significant disruption to their job, saw food prices skyrocket alongside other necessities of daily living. In other words, the pandemic decreased financial solvency for most people making it less likely that an abused spouse would reach out to get help.
Has Domestic Violence Increased During the Pandemic?
The truth is that despite what the studies say, we really don’t know. We can’t necessarily assume that fewer calls to domestic violence hotlines mean fewer instances of domestic violence, but we also can’t use evidence of fewer calls to prove an uptick in domestic violence. Financial stress, however, is a major risk factor in domestic violence cases.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce, the West Palm Beach divorce attorneys at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates can help you stabilize your future and prepare for the next chapter of your life. Call today to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.