When you can’t leave home: Experts warn of rise in domestic abuse

Berlin (dpa) – Like in many other countries, life in Germany is now largely confined within four walls, intensifying the threat for victims of domestic violence, experts say.

Chancellor Angela Merkel announced at the weekend a so-called “contact ban,” forcing many to only spend time with the people they share a home with, at a time when financial woes are also on the rise.

“The situation can lead to increased stress,” psychologist Anja Stiller, who works for the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, told dpa.

The psychological toll of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions has already been observed in China, according to Alena Buyx, a professor in medical ethics at the Technical University of Munich.

She points out that mental illness is on the rise there and a massive increase has been noted in cases of domestic abuse against women and children.

“These are serious collateral consequences and for that reason we must implement these restrictions with a sense of what is appropriate,” Buyx said.

Germany’s GdP police union is predicting a rise in violence in the home, while crime in public is going down as fewer people venture outside.

GdP deputy head Joerg Radek warned that “crime also takes place behind closed doors, such as domestic violence,” adding that this is the area that makes him “more worried.”

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