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The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) had a drastic effect on people around the globe. Although the necessary steps were taken to prevent the virus’s spread, it led to thousands of deaths. The lockdown enforced in many countries helped to curb the rise of new cases of coronavirus. However, it also had unintended consequences that affected numerous people. This paper will examine the effect of the current COVID-19 pandemic on violence on the micro-and macro-levels. Specifically, domestic, racially motivated, and gun violence will be discussed.
Violent Behavior on the Micro-Level
The lockdown hurt violence at home. As many people were asked by the governments to stay at and work from home, domestic abuse complaints rose exponentially (Campbell, 2020). This type of violence can be defined as a range of violations within domestic space committed by a member of a family, partner, or ex-partner (Bradbury‐Jones & Isham, 2020). Women and children are more often subjected to mistreatment within a home and can experience physical, sexual, and psychological abuse (Bradbury‐Jones & Isham, 2020). However, men can also become victims of violence if their partners are physically or emotionally abusive.
When examining the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on domestic violence, the characteristics of this type of violation should be discussed. One of the most common tactics of abusers is to isolate their victims (Campbell, 2020). A violent spouse is likely to separate their partner and children from any support systems they may have to prevent them from seeking help. It includes isolation from friends, family, co-workers, and social institutions that can help them end the abusive relationship. The lockdown significantly contributed to the isolation of those who experience abusive behavior at home and potential victims. The pandemic imposed the lockdown on many businesses and affected organizations that deal with family and partner violence and help people suffering from abuse. Many shelters where they can move to had to shut because of the pandemic, leaving many mistreated men, women, and children without the needed support (Campbell, 2020). Thus, the victims of domestic violence were forced to self-isolate with their abusers without being able to leave their homes.
The lockdown put in place due to the spread of coronavirus also exacerbated the behavior of the abusers. According to Campbell (2020), stress, reduced income, and unemployment are some of the main risk factors for domestic violence. The lockdown compelled many businesses to close and dismiss their employees, reduce their salaries, or let them work from home. The pandemic resulted in financial instability for many families, which is a significant risk factor for abuse. Additionally, consumption of alcohol or illicit substances can also contribute to violence (Campbell, 2020). With many restaurants and bars closed, the use of illegal substances and drinking can occur at home, putting all the household members in danger. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the aggravation of violent behavior in domestic offenders due to stress associated with it and deprived the victims of abuse of social support systems.
Violent Behavior on the Macro-Level
The COVID-19 pandemic also affected violence on the macro-level. One of its most notable effects is the rise in the number of violent attacks against foreigners and ethnic and racial minorities. Due to coronavirus reportedly being imported from other countries, the fear of foreigners during the pandemic escalated drastically. Specifically, as the coronavirus is believed to have originated in China, many people in the Asian community experienced aggression and abuse. In the United States, the pandemic led to an upsurge in hate crimes against Asian-Americans, with many being verbally abused and physically assaulted (Gover et al., 2020). The association between China and the pandemic and the stress the virus caused are the main contributors to Asian-American individuals and businesses being attacked (Gover et al., 2020). Thus, the pandemic enabled the spread of prejudice and xenophobia, especially against Asian people.
In addition, gun violence is another concerning issue during the pandemic. According to Hansen & Lory (2020), the sales of firearms in the United States rose drastically since March 2020. Ownership of a gun is a risk factor for domestic violence (Hansen & Lory, 2020). However, in the current context, with many people experiencing stress and financial problems, it can also be viewed as a risk factor for violence on a larger scale. Widespread firearm ownership could increase gun crime in communities if those communities were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Overall, the full effect of coronavirus on violence in communities is yet to be established.
In conclusion, the current COVID-19 pandemic impacted most people worldwide and led to violent behaviors occurring on micro-and macro-levels. On the micro-level, violence manifested in the upsurge in cases of domestic abuse. Stress, unemployment, and salary reductions contributed significantly to the rise of cases of violence at home. Moreover, victims of abusive relationships lost vital opportunities to seek help as shelters were closed. On the macro level, the pandemic led to people from the Asian-American community being verbally and physically assaulted. The increased sales of firearms now pose another threat to communities that are affected by the coronavirus. Overall, the real scale of violence and its effects on the population during the pandemic is yet to be determined.
Bradbury‐Jones, C., & Isham, L. (2020). The pandemic paradox: The consequences of COVID‐19 on domestic violence. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 29(13-14), 2047-2049. Web.
Campbell, A. M. (2020). An increasing risk of family violence during the COVID-19 pandemic: Strengthening community collaborations to save lives. Forensic Science International: Reports, 2, 1-3. Web.
Gover, A. R., Harper, S. B., & Langton, L. (2020). Anti-Asian hate crime during the COVID-19 pandemic: Exploring the reproduction of inequality. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 45(4), 647-667. Web.
Hansen, J. A., & Lory, G. L. (2020). Rural victimization and policing during the COVID-19 pandemic. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 45(4), 731-742. Web.