Stay home, stay safe? Studying prevalence, nature and severity of domestic violence during the Covid-19-pandemic

Time period:to be followed

Description: The limited freedom of movement, social isolation and potential financial insecurities as a consequences of the Dutch COVID-19 measures, may have led to increasing tension at home. What is the effect of these measures on the prevalence, nature and severity of domestic violence reports?
Measurements taken to control the virus may have (had) led to difficulties for victims to seek for help, and may have limited the possibilities for care professionals to provide help and support to victims. Possibly, therefore, an increase in domestic violence reports was not observed during the first period of measurements against the covid-19 virus. Similarly, it could also mean that care and help was not provided in time nor adequately to victims. Systematic research into the domestic violence reports during the period of “intelligent lockdown” in the Netherlands was still absent. This
means that until now, researchers as well as professionals could only guess” or hypothesize to what extent and how the measures may have affected the prevalence of domestic violence.
At the NSCR, we have started a quasi-experimental research project to examine prevalence, nature, and severity of domestic violence reports in the Netherlands during and after the period of corona-measures (in different forms and kind), in comparison to domestic violence reports exactly one year ago (measured per week). This research is a close collaboration between research, policy and practice. The research will be carried out in close collaboration with Avans university of applied sciences, Veilig Thuis organizations (regional reporting agencies), Landelijk Netwerk Veilig Thuis (national network organization of the reporting agencies), and for example also organizations for Womens’ Shelters (BlijfGroep).
In the first phase of the project, we will make use of data of domestic violence agencies, from different regions. We will use data ranging from last year to present, from way before the first covid-19 measures were issued until (hopefully) some time after. We will analyse these data on a weekly basis and the results will be reported to the agencies involved in a real-time monitor. In this phase of the project we will also gather more in-depth information by using data from chats registrations, files and interviews with victims.
In the second phase of the project, we will use data of the national prevalence of domestic violence reports on population level, derived from Statistics Netherlands (comparison with general population is possible). Through the online environment of Statistics Netherlands, we will also be able to access data from a bi-annual domestic violence victims’ survey, which is a collaboration between Statistics Netherlands and the Research and Documentation Centre of the Ministry of Justice and Security.

Research Team Leader: Veroni Eichelsheim (