Addressing the “shadow pandemic” through a public health approach to violence prevention
Experts from across the globe have warned of the adverse consequences of COVID-19 lockdown and physical distancing restrictions on violence in the home, with the United Nations describing it as a shadow pandemic. This social innovation narra-tive explores how a public health approach to violence prevention is implemented in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic by the multi-agency Wales Violence Prevention Unit. The article highlights early trends in monitoring data on the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on violence, including likely increases in domestic and sexual violence and abuse, concerns over the safety of children and young people, both online and in the home, and increased reporting of elder abuse. The article supports the notion of a shadow pandemic, emphasizing the lack of data that routinely measures violence in the home and online that disproportionately affects women, children, and older people, as well as vulnerable and minority populations. This renders these forms of violence much less “visible” to policy-makers in comparison with violence in public spaces, but they are of no less public health significance. Through sharing this narrative and early findings, we call for increased focus on the develop-ment of new data collection methods and violence prevention programs during the COVID-19 pandemic and in the future.
Copyright (c) 2020 Lara Christina Snowdon
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