Domestic violence affects people across the world and social backgrounds every day, in both normal and crisis situations. UN statistics show that, globally, one in three women is a victim of physical aggression. However, in times of crisis, cases of domestic violence tend to escalate amid high tensions. The current crisis caused by the pandemic is no exception, especially in a country like Romania where, unfortunately, family abuse is often normalised. In 2019, the Romanian police registered 44.094 cases of domestic violence and 51 deaths.
Statistics from 2018 show that 24% of Romanian women have suffered a form of violence coming from their partner, while 28% of them know other victims amongst their friends and relatives. Only 47% of the surveyed women were aware of the legislation protecting them from domestic violence and 74% were unaware of the existence of a specialised support system.
The movement restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have had an impact on everyone’s lives, but a particularly dramatic one on the lives of domestic violence victims. Romania did not deviate from the global trend and reported an increase in the number of cases soon after the restrictions were enforced. The National Agency for Equal Chances (ANES) highlighted that the number of calls to the special line dedicated to reporting cases of domestic violence doubled in the first month of lockdown (in comparison to the same period last year). As a new generation suffers from the horrors of domestic violence, the effects of the lockdown are likely to continue even after the lifting of movement restrictions.