After the increase of reported cases of intimate partner violence in Germany due to the Corona-pandemic in 2020, the number grew again by 9.4% to 157,550 cases in 2022 according to the Federal Criminal Police Office (FCPO). RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland interviewed Prof. Janina Steinert to help contextualise this observed trend.
Prof. Steinert highlighted that the numbers reported by the FCPO only represent the tip of the iceberg of actual violence cases. In her study on the prevalence of intimate partner violence during the first COVID-19 lockdown in Germany, Prof. Steinert could show that under 10% of women affected by violence did actually seek help from counsellors, social workers or the police. Thus, the dark figure of violence cases is likely much higher than the cases captured by the FCPO.
Prof. Steinert explains that a possible reason for the reported increase in intimate partner violence could be the financial pressures and fears that many families are facing due to the effects of the COVID-19-pandemic and the war in Ukraine. Other contributing factors could be alcohol abuse in consequence of increased financial stress and thus a higher level of aggression within households.
Prof. Steinert outlines that effective prevention efforts not only need to take into account affected women but also their families, their social environments, and the potential perpetrators. Considering that violence experiences in a person’s own childhood are a strong predictor of violence perpetration and victimisation in adulthood, school-based programmes to raise awareness of violence might be an effective measure to reduce acts of Domestic Violence.
The entire interview can be accessed via the website of the RND.
If you want to learn more about the topic, you can visit Prof. Steinerts research project "The Impact of COVID-19 on Violence against Women and Children in Germany", access the projects lay summary or read the research paper as an open-access pdf on the website of the Institutional Repository for Information Sharing (iris.) of the WHO.