Changes in attitudes and prevalence: Domestic abuse during COVID-19 isolation in the UK

Loren Davies, Calli Tzani, Maria Ioannou, Thomas Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Attitudes and beliefs relating to domestic violence in intimate relationships have evolved over time, with raised awareness of such experiences enabling members of society to identify a wider range of abusive behaviours that are not always expressed physically. Linking this to the presence of natural disasters, it has been highlighted that the limited access to resources, places of safety, and support networks, can in turn increase strain on relationships, all of which can be contributing factors to the occurrence of domestic violence experiences in intimate relationships. The current study looks to examine the impact of COVID-19 isolation period had on individuals in the UK in relation to domestic violence.

Method: 211 participants completed the survey that was designed to measure attitudes and beliefs, types of abuse and incidents of abuse both prior to and during the COVID-19 isolation period. Previous research informed the alternative hypothesis that an increase could be observed during the COVID-19 isolation period.

Results: The current study found a decrease in reported domestic violence experiences. A Wilcoxon Signed-Ranks test confirmed these findings were statistically significant by comparing reports of domestic violence prior to and during COVID-19.

Conclusion: Methodological and design factors have been drawn upon to inform future research which could replicate findings and explore explanations for a decrease in reporting. In turn, these could inform policies and resources aimed at supporting those experiencing domestic violence in intimate relationships. Risk assessment tools should be modified to include possible crises that may affect domestic abuse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-17
Number of pages5
JournalAssessment & Development Matters
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2022


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