Paper Published Exploring Role of Psychiatry in Addressing Domestic Violence during COVID-19
- June 2, 2020
Domestic violence against women and the COVID-19 pandemic: What is the role of psychiatry?
Statistics have just been published, as reported by the Journal.ie on Monday, demonstrating a 25% increase in domestic violence recordings by gardaí since the beginning of lockdown measures, compared with the same time period last year.
Operation Faoiseamh was instigated by authorities on 1st April 2020, in reaction to the government-imposed restrictions for protection against coronavirus, and has dealt with 5,600 reports of domestic abuse since that date. Read coverage of these statistics in full here.
Of further interest may be a paper published today by the International Journal of Law and Psychiatry and authored by College members Dr Gautam Gulati and Prof Brendan Kelly, which outlines the role psychiatric services play in identifying and aiding victims of intimate partner violence, the incidences of which were predicted to increase during Covid-19 restrictions.
You can view some excerpts below or read the full paper here.
A heightened risk of domestic violence has been associated with infection-reducing measures undertaken by governments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Psychiatric services can play a key role in addressing this issue by (a) addressing certain risk factors for perpetration of domestic violence through, for example, assertive identification and management of substance misuse; (b) providing support, advocacy and treatment services for victims of domestic violence; and (c) multi-agency working to strengthen medical and social responses to domestic violence. At a time like this, it is important that multi-disciplinary mental health services are strengthened, rather than depleted, in order to address the pressing issues at hand.
Multi-factorial reasoning for increased prevalence and reporting of domestic violence during pandemic measures are cited, and include:
…social isolation, exposure to economic and psychological stressors, increase in negative coping mechanisms (such as alcohol misuse) and an inability to access usual support mechanisms or escape abusive households, owing to quarantine measures or travel restrictions…
Each aspect of involvement by the psychiatry services have been outlined and explored further, with the authors concluding the following :
The continued provision and expansion of psychiatric services have a vital role to play in addressing the increased rates of domestic violence associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The effective and sustained provision of such services is relevant to both reducing the risk of domestic violence in the first place and identifying and supporting victims when it occurs.
To read this paper in full, click HERE.