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Locked Down Together: Determinants of Verbal Partner Violence During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Violence and Gender  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-08-25, DOI: 10.1089/vio.2020.0064
Janneke M. Schokkenbroek, Sarah Anrijs, Koen Ponnet, Wim Hardyns

The global spread of the coronavirus has drastically impacted people's lives. Due to governmental lockdown measures, most people's work and social life were suddenly confined to their own home. For partners who lived together, this could put serious strain on their relationship, which could result in conflicts and violence. In this study, we aimed to identify which groups of people particularly experienced verbal partner violence during the pandemic lockdown, and how stress regarding the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in the occurrence of partner conflicts. Through an online survey, which was distributed through online (social) media channels, we gathered data from 2889 people in Flanders, of which 1491 people lived together with their partner during the lockdown. We found that partner violence during the lockdown particularly occurred among women; younger age groups; students; people whose partner was long-term unemployed or was (temporarily) unemployed due to the pandemic; parents of children younger than 18 years; people without the ability to seclude themselves from other members of the household; and people with less personal contacts. In addition, higher levels of stress about the COVID-19 pandemic itself and lower levels of stress about potential coronavirus infection were associated with more partner violence during the lockdown. These findings provide important information for policy makers and health professionals, offering guidance to direct greater resources in prevention and intervention efforts towards higher risk individuals and groups during the COVID-19 pandemic.