Domestic Abusers Utilize Tech in Coronavirus Era

Posted on September 15th, 2020 in Family Law

Parts of Pennsylvania faced stay-at-home orders under Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 mandates from mid-March through June, leaving many of the most vulnerable in the Keystone State to endure fear and abuse.

During the months-long orders, many survivors of abuse did not have the means to report violence as social services across the state saw a decline in reports of abuse against the elderly, children, and intimate partners.

Experts suggest that job loss, social isolation, and the disruption of daily life have caused many victims of abuse to fear speaking out. In addition to the forms of abuse they may have already experienced, the use of technology has become a weapon in the domestic violence intersection of a global pandemic.

Forms of Online Harassment, Abuse

We often think of domestic abuse as the physical altercations that occur in intimate partner relationships. However, COVID-19 has made abusers rely on other forms of harassment including digital transgressions like revenge pornography, cyberstalking, online death threats, and the use of tracking software to find out where a partner is staying during the lockdown.

While these altercations are in and of themselves traumatic, the toll that remains is often worse–as lockdowns lifted across the state many victims experienced in-person psychological, physical, and sexual trauma.

However, not all forms of violence were sexual or physical in nature. Some survivors reported control abuse, like disabling phone and internet services, monitoring communication, and creating more isolation from others.

Unfortunately, there have been extreme cases of abuse, resulting in death during the pandemic with the use of technology as well. In Florida, a man disabled the location services on his wife’s phone and used her text messages in an attempt to hide her death. He was later arrested for kidnapping and murder.

COVID-19 Creates New Forms of Violence – Domestic Abuse

In addition to technology being utilized in the era of social isolation, others used the virus as a form of abuse. There were reported threats of eviction for coughing, forced physical contact during isolation, and refusal to share necessary protective equipment, all designed to control their victim.

Though social services are available to survivors of abuse even with strict social distancing orders, psychologists believe that the long term implications of the novel coronavirus on those who suffered domestic abuse during this period of time may be far more damaging than the virus itself.

At Kalinoski Law Offices, we are here for those survivors of domestic violence now and in the future. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, get help. Then, contact us for your legal rights.

Craig Kalinoski: Scranton Domestic Violence Attorney

Our Scranton domestic violence attorney is available to assist in obtaining a PFA order. To arrange a confidential, free initial consultation with a strong family law advocate, contact us online or call (570) 207-4000. We stand with those survivors of domestic violence and will elevate those voices to bring their abusers to justice.

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