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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 120-125

Domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: Lessons to be learned

1 Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, Hospital Putrajaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3 Department of Clinical Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Prabha S Chandra
Department of Psychiatry, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijsp.ijsp_264_20

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Pandemics such as the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) have a significant impact on individuals, families, and countries alike. People have to deal with the consequences of the infection as well as the precautionary measures taken to contain the infection such as isolation, social distancing, and restriction on movements. Domestic violence (DV) is a gender-based violence that happens at homes and usually involves the spouse or partner or other family members. Due to the current pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, DV has posed a major challenge for frontline mental health professionals. The UN Women has reported increased rates of violence against women and children during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is difficult to measure the point prevalence due to restrictions, both in accessing help and in reporting. Women have reported difficulty in help seeking, while professionals have reported difficulties in assessment, service delivery, and in linking women to appropriate services. This article explores the possible mechanisms behind DV during COVID-19, its manifestations, difficulties in providing help during this pandemic, and recommendations for health professionals and mental health service providers. It also discusses the challenges in data gathering and research and provides recommendations for various stakeholders to address DV in future pandemics.

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