Norway Sees Spike in Domestic Violence Amid Lockdown, Immigrants Overrepresented
Compared with previous years, a Norwegian report on domestic violence found an overrepresentation of immigrants, and, surprisingly, an increase in cases where women are the culprits and men are victims.
The full lockdown, introduced in March 2020, has resulted in a spike in domestic violence, as many had to spend large parts of the day with cohabitants with a propensity for violence, a recent Norwegian study has found, citing both an increase in reports and the elevated pressure on various helplines.
Between March 2020 and December 2020, the number of reports of partner violence increased by 54 percent, compared with the year before.
"This is a big increase. And these are cases that have actually been reviewed. We also know that there is large unreported number", Merete Berg Nesset, a researcher in security, prison, and forensic psychiatry at the Department of Mental Health at St. Olav's Hospital in Trondheim, told national broadcaster NRK.
The results also indicate that the reported violence during the shutdown may have been more serious than before.
Before and during the lockdown, people with an immigrant background were overrepresented in the statistics of reported instances of domestic violence, but fewer cases were reported during this time. Merete Berg Nesset called this trend alarming, as it witnesses of violence that goes under the radar.
"Those with an immigrant background contacted the police to a lesser extent. We think this is worrying, as we know that many in this group are hard hit", she told the channel.
Remarkably, the study also indicated an increase in female perpetrators, where the man in the relationship was the victim.
25 November 2021, 07:18 GMT
While similar spikes in domestic violence were recorded in other parts of the world, where lockdowns were introduced, often coupled with spikes in substance abuse, Vibeke Ottesen, a homicide researcher at the University of Bergen, argued that the study is important.
"This is research that we really need. Many were worried that there could be an increase in violence in close relationships during the pandemic, but now we finally have figures that confirm that", Ottesen told NRK. "Now that we have the numbers, we can demand action", she argued.