Catholic psychologist calls domestic violence ‘pandemic within a pandemic’

Catholic News Service

May 22, 2020

By Gina Christian

Philadelphia – Amid global coronavirus lockdowns, domestic violence has emerged as “a pandemic within a pandemic,” said Catholic clinical psychologist Christauria Welland.

“Our rates in the U.S. for physical and sexual violence against women were already at one in three,” she said. Based in California, Welland has counseled both those who are abused and their abusers for decades.

During periods of economic crisis and natural disasters, such rates tend to rise, said Welland, adding that the coronavirus has aggravated conditions for domestic abuse, also known as “intimate partner violence.”

“We’re seeing huge increases in anxiety, uncertainty and feelings of powerlessness,” she said. “When those who abuse manage their relationships using a template of power that says, ‘I’m in control of you,” this kind of insecurity makes them feel vulnerable and puts them at risk of becoming violent.”

Unemployment, food and financial instability, confinement and substance abuse have increased the risk of abuse.

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