Domestic abuse: the ‘shadow pandemic’
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COVID-19 pandemic, domestic abuse, responses on the island of Ireland, response of United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, incidents of domestic abuse have increased substantially around the world. The lockdown measures which were adopted by many jurisdictions, although necessary to limit the spread of the virus, nevertheless resulted in those living in abusive relationships finding themselves to be even more isolated. Indeed, UN Women has termed violence against women during the COVID-19 pandemic as the ‘shadow pandemic’. This article discusses the increased levels of domestic abuse globally, proceeds to examine the rise in instances of domestic abuse on the island of Ireland, and then analyses the measures adopted in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in response. It is argued that, although meritorious steps were taken in both jurisdictions, essentially the pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing difficulties with the responses of both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland to this issue.