Germany: Domestic Violence Is Rising During Quarantine

Quarantine measures were implemented in Germany to curb the spread of COVID-19. New data show that domestic violence may have risen during quarantine.

Quarantine or isolation inside homes helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 but it also traps victims of domestic violence with their abusers in a confined space. Researchers from the Technical University (TU) Munich and the Leibniz Institute for Economic Research (RWI) found from a representative sample that,

  • 3.1% of women in Germany were victims of beatings and other physical violence during the period of strict contact restrictions and stay-at-home orders;
  • 3.6% were raped by their partner; and
  • children were violently punished in 6.5% of all households.

The researchers can not say with certainty if this is an increase. According to the researchers comparing this data with previous research would be meaningless as previous research look at longer time periods.

Between April 22 and May 8, Janina Steiner, Professor of Global Health at the TU Munich and her RWI colleague Cara Ebert asked around 3,800 women online about their experiences with violence in the previous month, i.e. the time of the strictest contact restrictions. According to the report, 7.5% of women reported physical violence against themselves, 10.5% reported violence against children. 

The risk increased if:

  • there were acute financial worries in the family,
  • one of the partners suffered from depression or anxiety disorder, and
  • if children under 10 lived in the household.

Reports of increasing domestic violence during COVId-19 lockdowns and isolation measures have been reported in other countries and places around the world, such as in Australia and the United States where alcohol plays a major role.