SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The COVID-19 lockdowns were an attempt to stop the spread of a deadly virus. But the isolation may have created an environment that lead to increased domestic violence.
"Really what domestic violence and intimate partner violence comes down to is power and control," explains Aliza Kazmi. "(It) becomes easier when you are able to isolate the person that you are harming."
The CDC reports that one in four women and one in 10 men experience some form of domestic violence in the United States. A report from the Council on Criminal Justice found that domestic violence incidents in the U.S. increased by more than 8% during the pandemic lockdown.
Research also shows that extra stress caused by income loss (among other issues) during the pandemic also led to increased domestic violence. The lockdown meant victims had nowhere to escape, or was the very reason why some remained in relationships.
"Increased costs and decreased income. That is actually a prime reason why survivors of intimate partner violence can't leave," says Kazmi.
In 2021, Kazmi's organization launched a survivor care fund to help women burdened by financial hardships, ranging from housing to legal aid to basics, like childcare or groceries.
Yet as post-pandemic life returns to normal, Kazmi warns that's doesn't mean the problem will go away.
"What a lot of advocates are concerned about is that the COVID recovery efforts often don't actually start with the most impacted people. So, the solution-making is not really transformational," she says.
She adds there needs to be more resources and support for those trying to leave abusive situations, as well as more investments in health care, education and housing.
"We are talking about going back to normal, but that normal actually didn't work for a lot of people," says Kazmi. "Let's not forget that, especially here in the Bay Area there are always people who, unfortunately, are at the margins."
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