The shadow pandemic :Adventist News Online

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Described as a shadow pandemic, domestic violence (DV) is a silent killer.

News services have been reporting an increase in domestic violence and the need for DV services during COVID-19 lockdowns. Governments are realising there is a problem and are starting to respond.

On the back of 2019 being the worst year for intimate partner violence in New Zealand, the New Zealand government pledged $2M to fight DV during the early days of the lockdown,1 while the Australian government launched a new “Help is here” campaign to raise awareness and provide important information.2 In Fiji last year 10 women died in DV incidents and, in 2020, the minister for women launched Fiji’s National Plan to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls, stating that Fiji has one of the highest rates of DV (per capita) in the world.3 In June, while much of the world marched against racism, Papua New Guineans were marching against DV triggered by the death of young mother Jenelyn Kennedy. PNG prime minister James Marape, who joined the vigil for Ms Kennedy, has hinted at law changes and declared that it is time to end the silence around DV.4

DV Affects everyone

Not just women but children and men are in violent relationships and impacted by the scourge of DV.

Representatives from ADRA Logan, Queensland, suggest that they are seeing an increased amount of DV cases come through, especially where men are the victims.

“While we don’t have tracking of DV for victims, we do have anecdotal conversations that people share with us,” says Sam Luteru, training coordinator for ADRA Logan. His colleague, assistant manager of ADRA Logan, Michelle Brown, concurs, recounting a recent incident she witnessed of a woman beating up her partner on a busy street in broad daylight. “And I’m quite surprised that there’s probably more men who come in with black eyes,” she says. The ADRA office does not deal directly with DV; however, they are able to point victims in the right direction and are always willing to listen.

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