The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) has released a paper exploring the relationship between social isolation, time spent at home, financial stress and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Data from a large online survey of Australian women were analysed to examine whether the increased time spent at home, social isolation and financial stress resulting from COVID-19 containment measures were associated with a higher likelihood of physical and sexual violence among women in current cohabiting relationships.
- Separate analyses were conducted for women with and without a history of violence by their partner prior to February 2020 to determine how these factors influenced first time and repeat violence.
- The majority of women had not experienced violence by their partner prior to the pandemic. Among those who had, two-thirds experienced further violence. Three percent of women experienced the onset of violence during the pandemic.
- An increase in the amount of time spent at home with a partner was not in itself associated with a higher likelihood of violence among either group.
- The probability of repeat or first-time violence was between 1.3 and 1.4 times higher for women who had less frequent contact with family and friends outside of the household during the pandemic.
- While financial stress prior to the pandemic was a strong predictor of violence for both groups, the probability of first-time violence was 1.8 times higher among women who experienced an increase in financial stress.
The results reaffirm that the pandemic was associated with an increased risk of violence against women in current cohabiting relationships. This was most likely from the combination of economic stress and social isolation.
Social isolation, time spent at home, financial stress and domestic violence during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the AIC website.