Can Financial Stress Lead to Domestic Violence?
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, families are seeing their financial situation worsening. Unemployment rates are high, evictions are occurring, and businesses are permanently closing. At the same time, domestic violence (DV) agencies were reporting an increase in calls from women in need.
This increase, unfortunately, should not have been a surprise. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, domestic violence is actually three times more likely to occur when a couple is experiencing high financial stresses versus low financial stresses. Women whose male partners experienced two or more periods of unemployment in a five-year time span are almost three times as likely to be victims of DV as opposed to women whose partners are in stable jobs. We also saw a substantial increase during the Shelter at Home time period.
Stress Causes Violence
When people are experiencing stress, they have a more difficult time controlling their anger. Anxiety activates the fight or flight response, and while it doesn’t necessarily cause “fighting,” it can cause other types of violence and aggression. When someone is experiencing anxiety or stress in the workplace or other parts of their life, their anger builds up (probably from feeling helpless), and it tends to be released at home. The CalmClinic has more information on how to control anger.
If You Are Being Abused
The first thing to know is that you are not alone, and the abuse is not your fault. Safety and support are critical if you are in an abusive relationship.
It is also important to become financially independent so that you can leave quickly and not rely on your partner for survival.
- Obtain your credit report and monitor it regularly.
- Open a P.O. Box and have all your financial information sent to that address if you are receiving it before you leave.
- Call your utility companies, phone company, cable company, and anyone else that would have personal financial information to secure it with a special PIN and passwords. Ask the companies to use identifying information other than your social security number, date of birth, or mother’s maiden name.
- Change all ATM PINs and passwords and your email passwords.
- Make the necessary changes to your insurance plans and will