Hexbyte Glen Cove Domestic violence levels remained flat in Michigan during early pandemic, but abuse was worse

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At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, media reports warned of skyrocketing domestic violence.

While the overall prevalence of in Michigan didn’t increase, survivors of intimate partner violence experienced new, more frequent or more severe violence during the early months of the pandemic, a University of Michigan study found.

U-M researchers surveyed 1,169 Michigan women and transgender/nonbinary individuals from June to August 2020 about changes in prevalence, severity and correlates to intimate partner violence.

Roughly 1 in 7 Michigan women and trans/nonbinary people experienced intimate partner violence—similar to pre-pandemic levels—but 1 in 10 experienced new, more frequent or more severe violence during that time period, said study co-author Sarah Peitzmeier, assistant professor at the U-M School of Nursing and School of Public Health.

Populations more likely to experience new, worse or more frequent intimate partner violence were those who were economically vulnerable or housing-unstable; trans and nonbinary people; and those living with six or more in a household. Also, essential workers were twice as likely to experience new or worse violence, while one-third of pregnant women and one-fourth of households with toddlers experienced new or worse violence.

Also, people who tested for COVID were more likely to experience new or worse violence, and 86% of people who tested positive in the early weeks of the pandemic experienced new or more severe violence.

“There is clearly some interaction between this COVID pandemic and this pandemic of intimate partner violence,” Peitzmeier said.

The findings were shared in December 2020 with several state agencies and the governor’s office, as well as several universities and major hospitals across Michigan.

Peitzmeier and her research partner Lisa Fedina, assistant professor at the U-M School of Social Work, say the results appear consistent with the reports from media and domestic violence advocates.

“Maybe pre-pandemic, folks were experiencing a low level of abuse and weren’t needing to reach out to a hotline or seek services, but during the pandemic they experienced an increase in severity,” Peitzmeier said. “On the ground, service providers see an increased need, even if at the population level we don’t see an overall increase in numbers of people experiencing abuse. At the same time, the situation is getting worse for many survivors.”

If more people reported new violence, shouldn’t the overall prevalence increase? Not necessarily, because someone who was experiencing violence before could be experiencing violence from a new , she said.

And roughly 3% of respondents started experiencing violence during the pandemic, but 3% stopped experiencing it during the same period. Researchers aren’t sure why—it may be related to the cyclical nature of domestic abuse, or it may be that the abuser and victim don’t live together and during lockdown the abuser did not have access to the victim.

Peitzmeier said it is difficult to explain the nuances of the research, and some academics and domestic violence advocates think the findings either overemphasized or underemphasized the effect of domestic violence in the state.

“It’s important to look at these results and remember that even if the prevalence of women and trans people experiencing domestic violence did not increase, there are still 1 in 10 and trans people who are seeing more severe or increased domestic ,” Peitzmeier said. “We have to focus on, ‘How do we help these people?'”

Peitzmeier suggested that policies such as eviction moratoria and rental and child care subsidies, partnering with prenatal and pediatric clinics and COVID testing sites to distribute information, and referrals to domestic violence services could help.

Fedina said much can be done to help survivors, starting with believing and listening.

“We can donate our time, money or other resources to local organizations serving domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, recognizing that many domestic violence shelters and social service providers have faced budget cuts during the while the need for services has only increased,” she said.

“(Also), we need Congress to prioritize the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021 to ensure survivors have access to stable housing and other critical economic supports. Contact your senators and urge them to support this vital bill that will protect survivors and save lives.”

More information:
Sarah M. Peitzmeier et al, Increases in Intimate Partner Violence During COVID-19: Prevalence and Correlates, Journal of Interpersonal Violence (2021). DOI: 10.1177/08862605211052586

Domestic violence levels remained flat in Michigan during early pandemic, but abuse was worse (2022, February 8)
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Domestic violence goes unrecognized in faith communities

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Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Australians who are frequently involved in religion and who identify as religious are less likely to acknowledge domestic violence is an issue within their faith community, despite acknowledging it as a national issue, a new study has found.

Led by researchers at The Australian National University (ANU) the study examined determinants of domestic violence among more than 1,200 people.

Lead author Professor Naomi Priest from the ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods said the study looked at the links between religious involvement and identity and determinants of domestic violence.

“Our study clearly shows people who are frequently engaged in religious activities, such as attending services or prayer, or who identify as religious, are less likely to acknowledge domestic violence is an issue in their faith community,” Professor Priest said.

“We also found the same among people who attended religious activities infrequently.

“However, this doesn’t mean that people who are religious don’t acknowledge domestic violence as an issue at all. Despite being less likely to acknowledge domestic violence as an issue within their own faith community, there was no evidence that religious involvement or identity were associated with failure to acknowledge domestic violence as a national issue.

“Simply put, this study found if you’re religious it doesn’t mean you think domestic violence isn’t happening. But, you are not inclined to recognize it as an issue among members of your own faith.”

The study, based on a representative sample of Australians, also looked at the prevalence of patriarchal gender attitudes among people who are religious. According to Professor Priest, patriarchal gender attitudes are a key determinant of domestic violence.

“In this study we found that the more religious people were, the more likely they were to have patriarchal gender attitudes,” Professor Priest said.

“Religious service attendance, frequency of prayer, and spiritual or religious identity were each associated with more patriarchal beliefs about gender roles.”

Professor Priest said the study’s findings were important as Australia still “grappled to address the serious burden of domestic violence across our whole society.”

“Religion plays a major role in the health and wellbeing of our population and religious communities are key to helping us prevent and respond to domestic violence,” she said.

“Addressing patriarchal beliefs and acknowledgment of domestic violence as an issue within among those who regularly attend services, pray and identify as religious, are key targets for action to address and improve population health,” she said.

“Our findings highlight that if we are to make progress there is still much work to be done.”

More information:
Naomi Priest et al, A ‘dark side’ of religion?’ – Associations between religious involvement, identity and domestic violence determinants, (2021). DOI: 10.31235/osf.io/9hf6d

Domestic violence goes unrecognized in faith communities (2021, November 30)
retrieved 1 December 2021

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Hexbyte Glen Cove Experts on violence release report giving recommendations for reducing inappropriate use of force by police thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Experts on violence release report giving recommendations for reducing inappropriate use of force by police

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Credit: Pixabay/CC0 Public Domain

A new report from the Police Violence Commission of the International Society for Research on Aggression (ISRA) outlines policy and procedural recommendations for reducing use of inappropriate police force from behavioral and social science experts.

The panel of experts, chaired by Paul Boxer, a Professor of Psychology at Rutgers University-Newark whose expertise lies in the development and management of aggressive behavior, especially in , includes leading scholars from across the United States and Germany. SASN Department of Psychology’s Luis Rivera, an associate professor with expertise in implicit bias, and Kaylise Algrim, a doctoral candidate in Boxer’s lab, are among the group.

The report looks at the inappropriate use of force by from the perspective of behavioral and social science inquiry related to aggression, violence, and intergroup relations. Researchers examined use of force in the context of research on modern policing as well as critical race theory and offered five recommendations suggested by contemporary theory and research. The panel’s recommendations are aimed at policymakers, law enforcement administrators, and scholars.

“There is a crisis in the United States and beyond right now with respect to relations between police and the communities they serve,” states Boxer. “Large scale efforts thus far to improve these relations have failed and it is time for a new set of strategies based on behavioral and social science and taking into account the broader environment of systemic bias against minoritized populations, including the de-militarization of the police.”

The five recommendations made by the group include:

  • Implement public policies that can reduce inappropriate use of force directly and through the reduction of broader burdens on the routine activities of police officers.
  • For officers frequently engaged in use-of-force incidents, ensure that best-practice, evidence-based treatments are available and required.
  • Improve and increase the quality and delivery of noncoercive conflict resolution training for all officers, along with police administrative policies and supervision that support alternatives to the use of force, both while scaling back the militarization of .
  • Continue the development and evaluation of multi-component interventions for police departments, but ensure they incorporate evidence-based, field-tested components.
  • Expand research in the behavioral and social sciences aimed at understanding and managing use-of-force by police and reducing its disproportionate impact on minoritized communities and expand funding for these lines of inquiry.

Included in the policy recommendations is more accountability for officers that are found to use excessive force, including ending “qualified immunity” for police as a legal shield against litigation. “The challenge is that any policy can be put on paper,” says Boxer, “but what matters is the accountability—are the policies enforced? Is the enforcement monitored? Is the monitoring evaluated? Are officers who violate policies held accountable?”

Boxer is hopeful that the recent guilty verdict reached in the case of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, will have a positive effect on reducing future use of inappropriate force among police units. “Testimony against Derek Chauvin was provided by the Minneapolis chief of police—this was a big deal as this sort of testimony coming from a high-ranking officer is highly unusual. The chief said that Chauvin violated department policy on protecting the ‘sanctity of life.” This sets a clear bar in Minneapolis. I think the message is pretty clear here, and an easy one for chiefs of police everywhere to understand and convey to their own officers.”

The panel recognizes that a true culture shift will take time, even once policies are implemented, and that inappropriate use of force by police might continue to happen. Boxer suggests that some ways to help lessen the trauma on communities from these incidents is an immediate and clear response from leadership. “Police chiefs and other high-ranking officials could aid in the lessening of trauma for families and communities by taking these stances and clearly communicating these positions very openly and very publicly in the wake of any killing of unarmed civilians by police, and by implementing serious disciplinary action when warranted.”

He adds, “Conversely, officers who successfully de-escalate high-intensity situations could be rewarded for doing so. These sorts of steps could produce immediate impacts on the culture of a department, particularly for departments in higher-crime areas where officers are more frequently exposed to such situations.”

“I hope the Chauvin verdict represents a watershed moment for the police,” said Boxer. “I think there are many communities that enjoy constructive relations with their local police departments. It is clear there are many situations where the police are helpful and valued. But I also think in some cases we probably expect the police to take on too much—and this is where the idea of ‘defund the police’ originates. There have not been high profile calls to eliminate the police altogether, but rather redefine and reorient their work to a more limited scope. Many communities are lacking in enough social and human services, medical and psychiatric services, youth development services that all could work to prevent the sorts of problems that eventually become problems for police. Police should not be asked to take lead roles in handling psychiatric emergencies, for example, and nor should they have to function as ad-hoc case managers for youth having challenges in school or at home.”

“At the same time I hope the Chauvin verdict yields a broader and more effective conversation about system racism in American society and beyond, where the killing of George Floyd (and many other Black men and women) is just one example of many demonstrating the unjust treatment that Black people have received.”

ISRA is is a professional society of scholars and researchers engaged in the scientific study of aggression and violence. The report is available at ISRA’s website and will soon be published in the society’s journal, Aggressive Behavior.

More information:
Report of the Presidential Commission on Police Aggression and

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