RNA - From Berlin to Paris, Madrid, Rome, and London associations that help victims of domestic violence have sounded the alarm after Europe became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
"For many people, their home is already not a safe place," the German federal association of women's counseling centers and help lines (BFF) warned, stating that the stress caused by social isolation is exacerbating tensions and increasing "the risk of domestic and sexual violence against women and children".
The risks are not limited to homes where violence was already a problem before, but on top of the stress caused by confinement, fears around job security and financial difficulties are also increasing the likelihood of conflicts.
For children, young people and women who are victims of domestic violence --- mental or physical --- the current situation means "being constantly available" for abuse by the perpetrator, the German federation stressed.
Decisions to shut down schools, sports clubs and youth centers are important to curb the spread of the fatal virus and prevent hospitals from being overrun, acknowledges Rainer Rettinger, who heads a German child protection association, asking, "who is seeing and hearing abused children today?"
"Now violence, too, has been confined. That's what we're afraid of," Martine Brousse, Head of Parisian organization La Voix de l'Enfant (The Child's Voice), stated.
In mid-March, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced that Europe has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.
The WHO has announced that 70 percent of the world’s coronavirus deaths have been reported in Europe as the flu-like pathogen continues to take its toll across the globe. Hans Kluge, the WHO Regional Director for Europe, made the announcement at a press conference in Geneva, stating about 60 percent of cases infected by the deadly disease worldwide were also reported in Europe.