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Domestic Violence in the wake of COVID-19

Full report: Monitoring changes in domestic violence in the wake of COVID-19 social isolation measures

Release date: Embargo: 10:30am, Thursday 23 April 2020

Domestic violence assaults recorded by police did not increase in March 2020.  This is despite social distancing measures commencing halfway through that month.

Concerns have been raised that social isolation strategies implemented to address the COVID-19 pandemic may inadvertently increase the incidence of domestic violence.  The Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research have compiled preliminary statistics to monitor any early signs of an increase in domestic violence.

Domestic violence assaults reported to or detected by NSW Police in March 2020 were consistent with those from the same period in 2019 (2,678 in March 2020 versus 2,632 in March 2019).  

It is possible that domestic violence increased in March 2020 but victims were unable to report due to home confinement with their perpetrator. While murder and grievous bodily harm are infrequent they are serious enough that we expect they will come to police attention regardless of victim willingness to report. Neither of these offences rose in March 2020.

Commenting on the findings, Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director at the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research noted that the statistics only capture the first two weeks of social distancing measures.  “These data reflect the early days of social isolation measures and the situation could well change as time goes on. We will continue to closely monitor changes in domestic violence through a range of data sources.”

Further enquiries: Jackie Fitzgerald, Executive Director 02 8346 1100 or  0423 139 687

Copies of the report: www.bocsar.nsw.gov.au