As the nation grapples with the spread of COVID-19, Nigerians are being told to go home and stay there, for their safety and everyone else’s. But for victims and survivors of domestic violence, including the senior citizens exposed to it, being home may not be a safe option — and the unprecedented stress of the pandemic could breed unsafely in homes where violence may not have been an issue before. Even parents who have great child management skills and great bonds with their kids are going to be tested.
Violence in the home can also lead to adverse health and mental health outcomes, including a higher risk of chronic disease, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and risky sexual and substance use behaviors.
Now, experts worry that all these numbers could increase dramatically during this period of social distancing and quarantine. Psychologist Josie Serrata, Ph.D., a research and evaluation consultant and co-owner of Prickly Pear Therapy and Training, has found in her research that stress and social isolation can raise the risk of domestic violence.
To help these vulnerable populations during the pandemic, government and social service organizations are banding together to provide emergency domestic violence and elderly abuse support in response to the expected rise in cases.
Health-care providers should also be on the lookout for patients potentially in crisis. In several European countries, those in abusive situations are being told by the government to report the abuse to their local pharmacist, using the code word “mask 19” if they can’t speak openly.
If you or a loved one needs help with a domestic abuse situation, we are here to assist and don’t hesitate to call or email us.
Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Stay Home
We shall overcome.