A toxic mix: the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on the post-separation experiences of domestic abuse survivors

Brooks-Hay, O. , Saunders, K. and Burman, M. (2022) A toxic mix: the impact of COVID-19 lockdown measures on the post-separation experiences of domestic abuse survivors. Journal of Gender-Based Violence, 6(3), pp. 426-441. (doi: 10.1332/239868021X16536613142067)

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Reports of an intensification of domestic abuse under COVID-19 restrictions has been described by the UN as a ‘shadow pandemic’. Drawing upon interviews with domestic abuse survivors (n=11), plus interviews (n=18) and surveys (n=22) with support service providers in Scotland, this article develops a nuanced understanding of how the conditions created by the pandemic interacted with existing experiences of domestic abuse, highlighting the relatively overlooked experiences of survivors who have separated from their abusers. The findings reveal how pandemic conditions triggered, mirrored and amplified experiences and impacts of domestic abuse through the complex interplay between isolation, anxiety, lone-parenting, financial concerns and protective requirements such as mask wearing. Participants described an increase in economic abuse, abuse online and the manipulation of child contact arrangements as the restrictions imposed by the pandemic facilitated perpetrator behaviours. However, survivors’ resilience, coping mechanisms, and in some cases enhanced feelings of safety, were also notable. These findings generate insights into the evolving but persistent nature and dynamics of domestic abuse though the pandemic, including how domestic abuse interacts with, creates, and is compounded by gendered inequalities irrespective of whether survivors have separated from their abuser.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The study, ‘Health and Social Impacts of Covid-19 Suppression for Vulnerable Groups in Scotland’, was funded by the Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government, as part of its Rapid Research in COVID-19 Programme.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Brooks, Dr Oona and Saunders, Dr Kristina and Burman, Professor Michele
Authors: Brooks-Hay, O., Saunders, K., and Burman, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Gender-Based Violence
Publisher:Policy Press
ISSN (Online):2398-6816
Published Online:14 July 2022
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 Centre for Gender and Violence Research University of Bristol
First Published:First published in Journal of Gender-Based Violence 6(3): 426-441
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

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