Tag: domestic

Government made mental health and domestic violence worse during COVID-19 pandemic

The U.S. reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively affected Americans more than the virus itself. It’s been well-documented that large percentages of businesses will fail, including some even in the medical profession due to the decimation caused shutdowns and essential procedure orders — but three of the most overlooked negative impacts of the shutdowns have been mental health, drug abuse and domestic violence.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the time period of April-June, nearly 40% of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health of substance abuse. In a study published by the CDC on Aug. 14 due to stay at home orders, 40.9% of adults reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, 30.9% reported either anxiety or depression and 26.3% reported having something called trauma- and stressor-related disorder (TDSR). And those numbers are just the tip of the iceberg.

The same CDC study showed that 13% of people surveyed by the CDC during the same time said that they started or increased their substance use and 11% seriously considered suicide. The Washington, D.C.-based ODMAP (Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program) reported that drug overdoses during COVID rose 18%. And a study released by Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services in June showed calls to suicide hotlines are up 47% nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic with some crisis lines experiencing a 300% increase. 

These statistics are horrifying — but it doesn’t end there.

Not far from these numbers of increased mental health issues and substance use during COVID-19 is what the New England Journal of Medicine has labeled “A Pandemic within a Pandemic,” the rise and lack of reporting of domestic violence. With schools closed and people furloughed from work, stress levels were all-time highs in the home — and with it came higher numbers of violence. Typically, one in four women and one in 10 men experience domestic violence, but because of lockdowns, there were far less options to get away for either to report the other safely to the police. Worse is for children, who with school closures, lost teachers, guidance counselors and administrators they would once have an opportunity to report abuse to.

And how have the federal and state governments reacted? Not well. Many states are still closed, exacerbating all the issues I’ve mentioned. And similar to restaurant and small-business closures, many Americans will never recover from the damage that has been caused.

More egregious than our government not reacting is our government doing something even worse — chipping away services that could help those who find themselves in a hopeless or dangerous place. One such service at risk is the toll-free number. When I first heard about the potential to end the concept of toll-free numbers, I honestly blew it off. I, like many people that I know in my bubble, have an unlimited cellphone plan — toll-free numbers don’t come in to play for someone like me. But there are many who this would adversely affect.

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Trump’s law-and-order mantra goes missing in wake of domestic terror plot against Democratic governor

Over the summer, as racial justice demonstrations swept through American cities, President Donald Trump warned he would wield the powers of government to suppress violence. Embracing a “law and order” mantle, Trump himself announced from the East Room a surge of federal agents and castigated groups such as Black Lives Matter as cultivating “hate.”

Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a flag: NEWPORT NEWS, VA - SEPTEMBER 25: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia. President Trump is scheduled to announce his nomination to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday afternoon at the White House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
NEWPORT NEWS, VA – SEPTEMBER 25: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport on September 25, 2020 in Newport News, Virginia. President Trump is scheduled to announce his nomination to the Supreme Court to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Saturday afternoon at the White House. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

“My first duty as President is to protect the American people, and today I’m taking action to fulfill that sacred obligation,” he declared.

A few months later, Trump’s only acknowledgment of his government taking down an alleged domestic terrorism plot to kidnap the Democratic governor of Michigan was to wonder why he hadn’t been thanked.

How Trump chooses to promote his administration’s efforts to enforce “law and order” follow a clear pattern of political calculation; in instances when the Justice Department finds cases that bolster his claims of fraudulent voting, rampant urban crime or deep state corruption, Trump is eager to participate.

But when the government has worked to combat extremist anti-government groups — which even his own FBI says present the most pressing threat to the nation — Trump has at best ignored the efforts and at worst used them to fan the very resentments held by the groups’ followers.

The situation could only become more fraught as the election nears and as some extremist groups seek to retaliate against continued lockdown orders. Trump himself has railed against continued restrictions and has pointedly refused to call for post-election calm, even as he makes false claims about a rigged vote.

Former officials and others familiar with the situation say Trump has demonstrated little interest in making efforts to combat domestic terrorism a priority for his administration, despite warnings from law enforcement officials, members of Congress and groups that track extremism about the increasing threat of extremist and far-right groups. Some have claimed White House officials attempted to suppress use of the phrase “domestic terrorism” altogether over the course of the Trump administration.

Others said it was evident Trump recognized his own supporters were among those being labeled “domestic terrorists” and believed it would damage his standing with his base to warn of their danger.

Animated instead by immigration enforcement and a crackdown on urban crime — issues he believes galvanize his voters — Trump has publicly downplayed the threat posed by armed militia groups and sought to focus attention elsewhere.

After the FBI investigated whether local officials in Pennsylvania improperly discarded ballots, Trump was briefed personally on the matter by Attorney General Bill Barr and revealed details of it during a Fox interview before they were made public.

He has also

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New law to bar domestic abusers from victims’ homes

domestic abuse gvImage copyright
Laura Dodsworth

Domestic abusers could be barred from the homes of their victims under a law proposed by the Scottish government.

The new legislation would give police and courts the power to remove suspected abusers from homes and ban them from re-entering for two months.

It would also allow landlords to end the tenancy of anyone who has been abusive to their partner.

Dr Marsha Scott from Scottish Women’s Aid said this would mean victims would not face homelessness to escape abuse.

There have been concerns that the Covid-19 lockdown has left many victims shut in with their abusers, with little chance to leave for work or to see other people.

MSPs have already passed legislation this term aimed at combating controlling behaviour, which led to the number of charges for domestic abuse crimes hitting a four-year high in September.

  • New domestic abuse law comes into force

The government has now introduced new proposals aimed at protecting victims and allowing them to remain in the family home.

The bill would allow courts to impose Domestic Abuse Protection Orders, which can bar an abuser from entering the home of their victim for up to two months.

It would also create shorter-term Domestic Abuse Protection Notices, which senior police officers could use in the same way to offer immediate protection to victims.

And it would create a new power for social landlords to end the tenancy of a perpetrator of domestic abuse and transfer their lease to the victim, should they wish to remain in the property.

‘Place of safety’

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said the coronavirus pandemic had “highlighted the importance of protecting women and girls who find themselves isolated and vulnerable due to the actions of an abusive partner”.

He added: “This new bill will apply to all those at risk of domestic abuse, but we know women are disproportionally affected, representing 80% of victims.

“A person’s home should be a place of safety and the new orders being introduced will give victims of domestic abuse space and time to address their longer term safety and housing situation.”

Dr Scott said the bill was “a milestone moment for women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse, who for years have asked us why it should be them rather than their abusers, who have to leave their homes, pets and belongings to seek safety”.

She said: “Domestic abuse is the leading cause of women’s homelessness in Scotland, with women often facing the impossible choice between living with an abuser and making themselves and their children homeless.

“We have long said that emergency protective orders will make an immediate and significant difference for those women and children, offering them respite and breathing space as they seek support and safety.”

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