Spike serious domestic violence reports during pandemic
The national abuse hotline VeiligThuis noticed a sharp increase in domestic violence cases where authorities needed to step in immediately. During the pandemic, tensions are higher than normal in many households. It also has victims trapped at home with their abusers, RTL Nieuws reports
VeiligThuis received calls from women with serious injuries, or neighbors who see a child walking outside all day in the cold with flip flops, or people who hear screams coming from their neighbor’s home. Debbie Maas, the organization's chairman, is worried about the increase of reports. “Schools are closed and social services have less opportunity to gather an insight into the families," she said to the broadcaster.
Maas is concerned the impending curfew will further increase isolation, but she added that these problems will not immediately vanish as soon as the restrictions are lifted again. “Domestic violence and child abuse remain major and persistent problems.”
The emotional toll on parents of having to work from home while trying to educate children at the same time is becoming evident. The University of Leiden already discovered during the first wave that children in vulnerable families did not get the necessary guidance with schoolwork or enough emotional support. Professor of Forensic Family Problems, Lenneke Alink, told the broadcaster that this could have a long-term effect on the children, “because the emotional needs of the child are structurally not met.”
Alink explained that parents are often not intentionally neglecting their children. “The situation is created by powerlessness.” Therefore, the professor said it is important to give priority to vulnerable children when it comes to reopening educational institutions.