PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE & MENTAL HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS
JASMYN BROWN, AURORA SMALEDONE & REBECCA HOFFMAN-FRANCES Strengthening partnerships between Domestic Violence (DV) programs and local mental health...
Intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking are on the rise during COVID-19. Shelter in place regulations and constantly shifting guidance from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention combined with systemic health and economic inequities are increasing vulnerability for communities.
COVID-19 public health crises has posed major challenges to people all over the world. Intimate partner violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking are on the rise during COVID-19. Shelter in place regulations and constantly shifting guidance from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention combined with systemic health and economic inequities are increasing vulnerability for communities. The impact on jobs, economic instability, loss of community and loved ones, fear, and stress has affected everyone, but it has also exposed many inequities by race, ethnicity, and income. Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities in particular have been impacted the most in terms of both health/wellness and financial stability, including access to vaccines, in addition to racist violence and police brutality. As the most vulnerable families were forced to stay at home without access to the resources and services that would otherwise be available to them, the risk for family violence increased and financial insecurity rose. The pandemic has exacerbated many of the risk factors that can lead to family or domestic violence such as poverty, social isolation, substance use, unemployment, and disconnection from community support (Abramson, 2020).
In addition, children’s socio-ecological systems and the resources that many parents and caregivers rely on such as seeing extended family, and attending schools, child care, after-school programs, and community-based programs have been disrupted. Extended or intermittent virtual learning has also presented new challenges, as some parents are essential workers and cannot stay at home with their children, while other families don’t have access to reliable internet, necessary technology, or the time to support their children’s learning. The emotional and educational impact on an entire generation of children is unlikely to be fully realized for years to come – but has clearly contributed to the rise in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues among children and youth. As we learn to live with COVID-19 and this “new normal,” programs should be reorganizing their service models and priorities to address the vast and differing levels of access and need for support in their communities. Below is a list of resources and materials to support programs and families as they navigate the impact that COVID-19 has on our communities and survivors of domestic violence: