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Vanderbilt study shows domestic violence is a bigger issue due to COVID-19

Humphreys said there’s less availability for someone to detect that a child’s in danger right now because they’re not going to school or after school activities.
Credit: Vanderbilt University

NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - A Vanderbilt study shows domestic violence could be an even bigger issue because of COVID-19.

Assistant Professor Katheryn Humphreys said her research shows kids could either be witnessing domestic violence or experiencing child abuse. Both of these lead to stress and issues in the future.

This could be because of job instability in the household, or the sheer fact that kids are stuck inside with a lot of energy.

“Even in good times, there’s high amounts of domestic violence kids are exposed to,” Humphreys said. “Child abuse and neglect is a extremely common. I think these things are happening even more now that people are stuck inside.”

Humphreys said there’s less availability for someone to detect that a child’s in danger right now because they’re not going to school or after school activities.

Still, she said there are ways to detect this violence, even through short term contact.

“If that child is changing in their behavior, if they’re acting more scared, then they normally would particularly when their parents are around, that could be a sign,” Humphreys said.

There are ways to get out if you are in a domestic violence situation.

“There still a workforce out there that are designed to protect kids from violence that are still working, there still answering the phone, that will still come out,” Humphreys said.

The following are phone numbers for organizations that can help: 

  • Child Abuse Prevention 800-356-6767
  • Crisis Intervention Center 615-244-7444
  • Oasis Center 615-327-4455
  • Morning Star Sanctuary 615-860-0003
  • National Domestic Violence 800-356-6767 (TN) 800-787-3224 (TTY)
  • Rape and Sexual Abuse Center 800-879-1999
  • YWCA of Nashville and Middle TN (email YWCA) 24-Hour Crisis & Support Hotline 1-800-334-4628
  • Tennessee Statewide Domestic Violence Helpline 800-356-6767
  • Parent Helpline 800-244-5373 (800-CHILDREN)